Published March 17, 2013
HOUSTON – The Golden State Warriors considered their rout of the Rockets important for many reasons.
Stephen Curry scored 29 points, Klay Thompson had 26 with six 3-pointers, and Golden State kept the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference standings with a 108-78 victory on Sunday night.
James Harden and Jeremy Lin scored 21 points apiece for the Rockets, who now trail Golden State by 1½ games in the West.
The Warriors not only got a key victory for playoff positioning, but also snapped a four-game road losing streak. And maybe most satisfying of all, the Warriors beat Houston for the first time in four meetings this year and got some payback for a 140-109 loss in Houston on Feb. 5, their most lopsided loss of the season.
"There are a lot of things you could look at for this game," Curry said. "They beat us three times, they embarrassed us one game, killing the 3-point line and they're a half-game back and had an opportunity to jump us in the standings. And the fact that, yeah, we haven't been playing well on the road. All those factors kind of built into this being a huge win for us."
In the previous meeting, the Rockets scored their season-high point total and tied an NBA record with 23 3-pointers. They barely got halfway to that point total on Sunday night and set season-low point totals in the first quarter (10) and first half (31).
"That was a sorry sight to see out there," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "It was really hard to watch."
Houston, the league's highest scoring team, went 3 for 23 from the field and had four turnovers in the ugly first quarter. No one was immune to the dysfunction — Harden missed a driving layup, rookie Thomas Robinson blew an uncontested dunk and Donatas Motiejunas missed all six of his shots.
"I've never seen us shoot like that before," Lin said.
The Warriors had offensive issues of their own early, starting 8 for 28. Curry and Thompson went a combined 2 for 12 in the opening quarter and Curry missed his first four 3-point tries.
Thompson got Golden State going with a 3-pointer with 8:17 left in the first half that pushed the lead into double digits for the first time. Lin sank Houston's first 3-pointer in nine attempts, but Curry answered with his first 3-pointer and a jumper in the lane as Golden State stretched the lead to 14.
"It was terrible," Houston forward Chandler Parsons said. "We came out so flat. We didn't play with any energy."
Curry sank a fallaway 3-pointer from the corner and a floater in the lane as the gap swelled past 20.
"We owed these guys one, we were 0-3 against them, they beat us pretty badly the first time," Thompson said. "We really needed this one."
Golden State led by 23 at halftime. The Rockets went 2 for 16 from 3-point range and had more turnovers (8) than assists (5) in the first half. In their previous meeting here, Houston scored 77 points in the first half, a season high.
"Obviously, tonight was bad in every which way that you want to look at it," Lin said.
But Houston rallied from a 59-39 deficit to beat Minnesota on Friday night and for a while, it looked like another monster comeback might be brewing.
Harden intercepted a pass and raced for a layup and 3-pointers by Lin and Harden trimmed the deficit to 11. Harden turned a steal into a breakaway layup and Parsons swished a 3-pointer from the corner for his first basket as the Rockets continued their surge and cut the gap to 62-57.
But Thompson made three 3-pointers in a 4-minute span and Houston started misfiring again. The Warriors finished the third quarter with a 13-3 spurt to lead 75-60 heading to the fourth.
"We knew they were going to make a run, that's what they do," Thompson said. "We didn't let it affect us. A lot of times, a lot of teams will just hold their heads down and play a little timid. We kept attacking."
The Warriors outscored the Rockets 33-18 in the final quarter and never led by fewer than 10.
NOTES: Andrew Bogut had 12 rebounds, grabbing at least 10 in a game for the sixth time this season. ... The Warriors went 13 for 26 from 3-point range. ... Houston's first-quarter shooting percentage (.130) was also a season low. ... The Rockets made only nine 3-pointers, snapping a streak of seven straight games with at least 10.