Notebook: Rockets 94, Warriors 88

Posted Mar 9, 2013 2:25 AM

Geoff Lepper, for

THE FACTS: Chandler Parsons scored a game-high 26 points and James Harden had nine in the fourth quarter to key the Houston Rockets' comeback 94-88 victory against the Golden State Warriors on Friday.

The Rockets (34-29) moved to within one game of catching the Warriors (35-28), who currently hold the sixth spot in the Western Conference standings, by holding Golden State to just 12 points in the fourth quarter. With three wins in as many tries against the Warriors, the Rockets clinched the season series and postseason tiebreaker.

Harden finished with 20 points and 11 assists to offset a 3-for-17 shooting performance, which included an 0-for-9 mark inside the 3-point arc.

Stephen Curry had 24 points with eight assists and Klay Thompson added 22 for the Warriors, who saw their modest two-game winning streak snapped.

QUOTABLE: "We're a young, streaky team and it was really important for us to come out and get this win. I thought we kind of give one away in Dallas."
-- Houston coach Kevin McHale, referring to the Rockets' 112-108 defeat against the Mavericks on Wednesday.

THE STAT: McHale said his team didn't make any adjustments to their defensive game plan, but the Rockets' results were far superior in the fourth period. The Warriors missed 17-of-21 shots and their three-guard finishing trio of Curry, Thompson and Jarrett Jack combined to go 2-for-11.

TURNING POINT: All-Star Warriors forward David Lee opened the game 4-4 from the floor with 10 points in just 7:24, but he left the game after suffering a right knee contusion in a collision with Houston's Thomas Robinson. Lee did not come back until intermission, and even then, it was a return in name only. Hobbled by the injury, Lee totaled six points, three rebounds, three fouls and three turnovers in the second half.

QUOTABLE II: "Not feeling too good right now. . . . Initially when I came back in the locker room, I couldn't put weight on it. Whenever I straightened it out it hurt. I've been waiting eight years to get in the playoff race, so when the doctors told me I couldn't do any more to hurt it -- if I could walk, I could play -- that's what I decided to do."
-- Lee.

BAD MOVE: The Warriors had a chance to force a tie or go-ahead in the final minute, with the ball in their hands and Houston clinging to a 90-88 advantage. Golden State ran pick-and-roll action from the top of the key, with Jack moving right to catch Lee's screen, but that took the ball away from Curry on the left side. Jack eventually passed to rookie forward Harrison Barnes, who stepped in and settled for a contested 15-foot jumper. In retrospect, his miss turned out to be Golden State's last gasp -- and Curry, the team's leading scorer, never even touched the ball.

HOT: This was Parsons' fourth career game of 25 or more points -- all of them coming this season -- and he was practically over that threshold before the fourth quarter began, putting up 24 points through three periods with a 6-for-7 performance on 3-pointers.

QUOTABLE III: "We're battling for that sixth seed. . . . They have a good schedule coming up; they're going to protect their home court. We've got to make sure that we take care of our business but, yeah, we'll probably go down to the wire."
-- Lin.

NOT: Harden started off in a miserable slump -- missing all six first-quarter shots -- although he worked around that late by forcing his way to the free-throw line in typical fashion, with 14 foul shots on the night.

HOT, THEN NOT: Thompson had a spectacular finish to the first quarter -- 3-pointer, jumper, block on Harden and fast-break layup just before the quarter-ending buzzer for 11 points. He never got back in that same groove, however, in the last three periods, which rendered his personal streak -- four straight games of at least 20 points -- somewhat hollow.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Warriors 7-footer Andrew Bogut, facing a dwindling shot clock and standing deep on the right wing midway through the third quarter, drained his second career NBA 3-pointer in 23 attempts. His only other make came on Dec. 1, 2006, a span of 2,290 days. It was an otherwise forgettable night offensively for Bogut, who did come up with 11 rebounds and a career-high-tying four steals.

INSIDE THE ARENA: Commissioner David Stern held court for 20 minutes prior to the game with Northern California media -- a session dominated by questions from Sacramento-based reporters regarding the Kings' future and potential relocation to Seattle. Stern said the counter-offer by Mark Mastrov to keep the Kings in Sacramento was substantially less money than Chris Hansen's offer in Seattle, and would have to be increased to be taken to the league's Board of Governors. With Mastrov sitting courtside, the 24 Hour Fitness founder gave a stream of interviews to TV and print media.

NOTABLE: For the third time in as many games this season against Golden State, Houston center Omer Asik collected at least15 rebounds. The number was 17 on Friday. . . . The Warriors had D-League pickup Malcolm Thomas -- whom Golden State coach Mark Jackson described as having the potential to be a smaller version of Milwaukee shot-blocking fiend Larry Sanders -- in uniform after signing him earlier Friday.

UP NEXT: For the Rockets, Saturday @ Phoenix, Wednesday vs. Phoenix, Friday vs. Minnesota. For the Warriors, Saturday vs. Milwaukee, Monday vs. New York, Wednesday vs. Detroit.