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Rockets do it with defense

Updated: 2013-12-08 07:07
By Associated Press in Houston ( China Daily)

Howard hauls down 18 rebounds as Houston handcuffs Golden State

The Rockets' offense is one of the best in the NBA. But against Golden State on Friday night, it was the defense that came up big.

Houston leaned on its defense in the first quarter while jumping out to a double-digit lead it didn't relinquish.

 Rockets do it with defense

Houston Rockets' James Harden dunks against the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter of their game on Friday in Houston. The Rockets won 105-83. David J. Phillip / Associated Press

James Harden scored 34 points, Dwight Howard had 22 points and 18 rebounds as the Rockets beat the Warriors 105-83.

Terrence Jones added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who had lost two straight. Harden drained 13 of 22 from the field and was seven for nine on free throws two nights after going 3 for 17 - including 0 for 10 on 3-pointers - against Phoenix.

Howard was 12 for 20 on free throws as the Rockets finished 25 for 39 from the line. Houston was also 45 percent from the field.

"That's the way we play," Harden said. "If we don't get after them on the defensive end, it is going to be tough for us. We were getting huge stops and getting out in transition. "

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 22 points and five assists, but was just five of 14 from the field while making all 11 free-throw attempts.

Harrison Barnes had 14 points and seven rebounds, Kent Bazemore added 12 and David Lee had 11 points as the Warriors saw their two-game win streak end.

Golden State shot 36 percent from the field, including two for 16 on threes.

"They are a tough team," Houston coach Kevin McHale said.

"They shoot a lot of threes. They shoot them at a really high percentage. We were trying to get them off the line and keep pressure on them and keep our bids up so they just couldn't walk into shots.

"For the most part, we did a very good job of that."

Rockets do it with defense

Golden State coach Mark Jackson said it was a bad loss.

"The way we started the ball game, there have been times when our bench has been bad, and we let them know, and tonight, the starters did a poor job of setting the tone," Jackson said.

"We got outworked. They played with more force and that set the tone the rest of the way."

Houston opened up a 31-12 lead after the first quarter on 60-percent shooting from the field.

The Rockets hit nine of their first 11 field goals as Jones led the way with 11 points in the quarter and Howard had nine.

"We did the best job we could on making sure those guys didn't get threes off tonight, and that's where it started," Howard said.

"Our defense was great from the beginning. We had a lot of deflections. We ran the floor well and put pressure on their guards to make plays to other guys instead of them coming off and scoring."

Golden State opened the second with five straight points to pull within 14 on Curry's three, but the Rockets responded with a 16-6 spurt over a five-minute stretch to open up a 55-30 lead on Patrick Beverley's layup with 1:30 to go in the half. Harden had eight points in the run.

The Warriors shot 27 percent from the field and hit just one of 8 from beyond the arc in the first half after scoring 19 points in the first quarter three nights earlier against Toronto and trailing by 17 at the half.

"I know there is a reason for it that is excusable," Klay Thompson said of the slow starts. "It is very disappointing. As a starter, we have to come out there with unlimited energy."

(China Daily 12/08/2013 page11)

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