OAKLAND, Calif. (NBA.com exclusive) -- Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman earlier Wednesday evening lamented the fact that he was seeking a go-to scorer for his offensively-challenged team.
He may have found one by the end of the night.
Rockets newcomer Trevor Ariza scored 25 points to give Houston its first victory of the season, a surprising 108-107 defeat of the Golden State Warriors before a sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.
Houston secured the victory and Golden State earned its fourth straight home-opening loss when Anthony Morrow missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds. Rookie Stephen Curry laid back the rebound but it did not matter.
The Rockets overcame a variety of obstacles to improve their record to 1-1, including a scenic ferry ride to get to the game.
The Rockets, who had lost in Portland on Tuesday night when they shot only 37 percent, were staying in San Francisco. But the Bay Bridge, which connects San Francisco and Oakland, was unexpectedly shut down for repairs, leaving the Rockets to seek public transportation to the game.
That was the least of Adelman's concerns, however. What he was sweating was who was going to score with both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady sidelined with injuries and Ron Artest now playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Artest was essentially replaced by Ariza, a key defensive cog on the Lakers' championship squad who signed with Houston in free agency. But just because Ariza was bestowed $33 million did not necessarily mean he was ready to carry his own team in the absence of Yao and McGrady.
In fact, when Adelman was asked before the game who he considered his primary scorer, he reluctantly said it was probably point guard Aaron Brooks because of his playoff experience last season; that, of course, discounts the fact that Ariza played an additional two series in the postseason last year en route to a memorable title run.
Ariza was only 3-for-8 and scored 12 points in Houston's loss to Portland the night before, and Adelman worried about who was going to become the team's No. 1 scorer -- and everything that comes along with it.
"Right now we are asking role players to step in and (lead the team)," Adelman said. "It's not a comfortable thing for a guy to do those things. I don't think people really understand how tough it is to do that night after night. It's a big responsibility."
From the beginning on Wednesday, Ariza was aggressive, launching 3-pointers, getting to the basket and pulling up for jump shots. Granted, a Don Nelson-coached team is never in danger of being used as a video for defensive fundamentals; but Ariza, known more for his lockdown ability with Los Angeles, still was able to exploit the Warriors, coming up one point shy of his career high.
"I think he took it upon himself to come out that way, and he was that way the entire game," Adelman said.
While Ariza controlled most of the game, power forward Luis Scola offered up 21 points, including 17 in the second half, enabling Houston to erase Golden State's 10-point halftime lead in a matter of minutes.
That comeback seemed to be sparked by an alteration in the rotation by Nelson.
Highly touted second-year forward Anthony Randolph did not even get into the game until 3:08 left in first half, a stark condemnation of his preseason play given all the hype surrounding what was supposed to be a breakout season.
But he hustled for those final three minutes, and ended it with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that provoked the double-digit lead.
Nelson rewarded Randolph by starting him in the second half instead of Andris Biedrins, but the decision proved costly. Scola got off early and often, Golden State's lead dissipated and the momentum shifted in Houston's favor for good.
"I guess that's why I hate home openers," said Nelson, 24 victories from becoming the league's all-time winningest coach. "My complaint of the game was my team, when we came out in the second half, we just didn't have very much going. We are going to have to play a lot better than we played tonight."
A subplot of the game was how disgruntled Warriors forward Stephen Jackson would be received by the home crowd after creating havoc with the organization for the past few months.
Over the summer, Jackson was involved in a number of confrontations: he asked for a trade, was fined by the league, restated his desires, got into a verbal jousting match with Nelson, was fined by the team again, relinquished his captain's title, and has criticized his teammates.
Not surprisingly, he was greeted with a lusty round of boos and jeers.
He said he didn't care.
"I expected it. Fans are so predictable about that," Jackson said. "Any time you say you want to leave, that is going to happen. I was prepared for that. They can do it all they want. I am going to go out there and play hard for the fans who do support me."