HOUSTON, Jan. 4 (Ticker) --
Down the stretch, Steve Francis
was one-upped by the NBA's smallest player.
NBA TV highlights from|
scored seven of his 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Golden State Warriors won for the fourth time in five games with an 86-84 triumph over the Houston Rockets.
"He's a good little player," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "He's a good shooter, so you can't leave him open."
Boykins, who is just 5-5, snapped an 84-84 tie with a jumper from the free-throw line with 53 seconds remaining. Erick Dampier blocked Cuttino Mobley's layup with 32 seconds left, but after Boykins missed a tough layup in traffic with seven seconds to go, Houston called timeout to set up a final shot.
Francis, who was just 5-of-19 from the field, was well wide on a jumper from the top of the key with two seconds left, barely
hitting the backboard. Golden State's Antawn Jamison and Houston's James Posey both grabbed the rebound on the floor and the referees called a jump ball with 1.1 seconds to play.
Jamison tapped the ball sideways to Rockets 7-5 rookie center Yao Ming, who grabbed it and launched a desperation three-pointer that hit high off the backboard at the buzzer.
Troy Murphy contributed 23 points -- one shy of his career high -- and 10 rebounds to pace Golden State, which beat Houston for just the second time in seven meetings.
"We ran a pick-and-roll with Antawn and Earl," Murphy said. "People are so aware of Antawn, I was open. I was able to knock down my shots."
"We said, 'Quit passing the ball. Swing it to Murphy because he's wide open in the corner,'" Warriors coach Eric Musselman
Mobley scored 27 points to pace Houston but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.
"I was just trying to make (Mobley) work," said Warriors guard Bobby Sura, who guarded him in the final period. "He had gotten on a roll. I was trying to keep it away from him, frustrate him."
"Golden State's not better than us," Mobley said. "Right now, I'm frustrated. It's unbelievable. I can't grasp it."
Francis added 15 points and Yao 11 and 17 rebounds, but the Rockets shot just 37 percent (37-of-89) en route to falling to
2-3 on their six-game homestand.
"I don't think (Yao has) got a lot of post moves," said Dampier, who help hound Yao into a 4-of-12 performance. "He didn't take many jump shots. That's what you want -- make him take a jump shot."
Golden State scored the game's first eight points and led throughout the first half, taking a 50-46 edge into the break.
Houston took a 66-63 lead late in the third quarter before the Warriors scored the period's final six points.
The Warriors took an 81-73 lead on an 18-foot jumper by Murphy with 5:47 left before the Rockets rallied to tie the game,
82-82, on a layup and free throw by Yao with 1:57 to go.
Sura stole the ball from Francis and scored a layup with 1:32 remaining before Yao tied it with a hook shot with 1:06 to play. But after Boykins put the Warriors ahead with his runner 13 seconds later, the Rockets did not make another basket.
"I thought we worked hard," Tomjanovich said. "We just could not get the ball to go down."
"I thought we missed a lot of easy shots that we normally make from point-blank range," Francis said. "When you do that
against a young team it's kind of hard to come back and get over the hump."