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HIDALGO, Texas – The Houston Rockets welcomed back two stars who had been dealing with injuries most of this preseason. The Golden State Warriors rested their two stars.
It was enough for the Rockets to beat the Warriors 90-83 on Sunday night in an exhibition game at State Farm Arena.
Dwight Howard had 11 points and eight rebounds in his return from a knee injury. He was 5 of 8 from the field in 16 first-half minutes. After a slow start, he got a few easy baskets, blocked a few shots and otherwise looked strong after not playing since Houston's preseason opener at Dallas last week.
"I thought he played well," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "It took him a while to get rhythm. But I thought he rebounded well. Had great hustle, great legs for not playing in a while. We want to make sure that he's healthy for us to go where we want to go."
James Harden had 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists in his return from a hip injury to help Houston improve to 4-1. Harden shot 2 for 12, but made 10 of 11 free throws.
Golden State, which rested guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to get a better look at younger players, lost its second straight game to fall to 4-2. But the young guys played well.
Justin Holliday scored 18 points, hitting 7 of 13 shots, including 4 of 8 3s. Nemanja Nedovic added 16 points in place of Curry. Rookie guard Aaron Craft had seven rebounds and three assists.'
"They were fantastic, Justin especially," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We've seen this in practice, we saw this in summer league. He just needed to relax. The last couple of games, he had some open looks but he was pressing. Tonight he relaxed and played. He's really a good player, great kid and he belongs in the NBA."
Warriors: Finished the road portion of their preseason schedule. Golden State played five of first six games away from home. Will play final two preseason games at home. ... Harrison Barnes had 13 points in 24 minutes, hitting 5 of 7 shots. ... Golden State had 21 turnovers for 11 Houston points. ... Shaun Livingston is still recovering from a right toe injury. He was inactive Sunday.
Rockets: Rookie Nick Johnson, who played four minutes, played AAU basketball in the Bay Area with the Oakland Soldiers. ... Patrick Beverley had 11 points.
Golden State hosts the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.
Houston visits Miami on Tuesday night.