Warriors race past Rockets for 42nd straight home win
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry had 35 points, nine assists and six rebounds and the Golden State Warriors relied on a signature putaway fourth quarter to hold off the Houston Rockets 123-110 on Tuesday night.
Andrew Bogut added 13 points, 11 rebounds, a season-high six blocked shots — three in the fourth — and three steals in one of his best games yet.
Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the fourth to get the defending champions going after the game was tied at 93 after the third.
Golden State won its 42nd straight regular-season home game and is 24-0 at Oracle Arena this season. The Warriors are within two home victories of matching the Chicago Bulls' NBA-record home winning streak of 44 games from March 30, 1995-April 4, 1996.
James Harden overcame a scoreless first quarter to finish with 37 points, five assists and five rebounds in Houston's eighth straight loss to Golden State.
Barnes added 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting and seven rebounds. The Warriors have their longest unbeaten run against the Rockets in the series since also winning eight in a row from Dec. 5, 1972, to Nov. 26, 1974. Golden State went 3-0 versus Houston to sweep the Rockets in consecutive seasons for the first time.
Houston opened the second half on an 8-0 run to go up 74-69 but couldn't capitalize as Curry made a pair of snazzy reverse layups in a span of 1 minute, 25 seconds. Bogut's hook shot at 7:01 gave Golden State the lead again then he immediately drew a charge on the other end.
Curry put on a dribbling clinic on one first-quarter play before breezing past Harden for an easy layin, and made five of his six 3-point tries in the opening period and seven of eight shots — only missing on a long 3 trying to beat the buzzer.
Harden went scoreless until making two free throws at the 7:01 mark of the second quarter, and he missed his initial five shots before a 3 from the top of the arc 6:25 before halftime.
The Rockets lost for the fourth time in six road games.
Interim Houston coach J.B. Bickerstaff had no time to reflect on Houston losing to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
"At this point in time you can't even think about that," he said. "This is by far the best team in the NBA right now."
Then, Golden State made its first four field-goal tries — two apiece by Bogut and Curry — on as many assists to build a 9-2 lead just 2:01 into the game.
Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson received their red Western Conference All-Star jerseys from Golden State general manager Bob Myers in a midcourt ceremony before tipoff. They will play in Sunday's game at Toronto.
Rockets: Golden State's 42 first-quarter points were most allowed by Houston in any period this season. ... Bickerstaff is taking his wife and kids on a getaway for the All-Star break, "to a fun place with lots of sun and beaches," he said. ... After Wednesday's game at Portland and concluding Feb. 25, the Rockets will have played the Trail Blazers in three of six games. ... Houston began a stretch with 11 of 13 games on the road.
Warriors: Golden State played its second and final home game in February — the second straight season with just two February games at Oracle Arena. The champs' next home game is March 1 against Atlanta. ... Bogut went over 1,000 blocks for his career. ... The Warriors swept the Rockets 4-0 last season — all by double figures — for the first time since 1973-74. They have won 11 of 12 overall including the 4-1 series win in last year's Western Conference Finals. ... C Festus Ezeli underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Monday and will be sidelined at least six weeks. He missed his sixth straight game. Marreese Speights had 15 points picking up more playing time.
Rockets: At Portland on Wednesday.
Warriors: At Phoenix on Wednesday. That starts a seven-game road trip spanning the All-Star break.