ORACLE ARENA — In a possible playoff preview, the Warriors and Rockets battled all the way to the final moments — and beyond.
Coming off a win in Sacramento, Curry told SFBay it took a few minutes after the game for the fatigue from the back-to-back games and overtime against Houston to catch up to him:
“It was all adrenaline at the end, but I’m feeling it now. Had to keep the gas pedal down and try to make plays. Just like coach said in one of our timeouts ‘you’ve got plenty of time to rest tomorrow so give it all you’ve got.”
Tied 87-87 with 34 seconds remaining in regulation, Jeremy Lin airballed and the Warriors defense forced a Houston shot-clock violation. On the other end, James Harden (39 points) stole the ball from David Lee and hit a jumper for the lead.
Curry (25 points, 6 assists) wove through traffic and sank a runner tying the game with three seconds left. Harden’s final attempt missed to send the game into overtime.
With just over two minutes remaining in OT, Andre Iguodala banked in a shot to give Golden State a 96-93 advantage.
Patrick Beverly — kept to a quiet two points on the night — fouled out of the game but Dwight Howard made good down low cutting the Warriors lead to just one point.
Chandler Parsons went for a dunk and the lead but was stuffed by Jermaine O’Neal. Though O’Neal finished with only two points, his block on Parsons was a key play that had Warriors head coach Mark Jackson marveling:
“You talk about big time plays … That is a guy with a million miles on his body and on the back-9 of his career, but he was a true professional.”
Curry took two trips to the free throw line in the waning moments to take a 100-97 lead. As Houston inbounded, they fumbled the ball and were left with no choice but to foul Green.
With Andrew Bogut sidelined for the Warriors, Houston’s Howard was a shoo-in for a big night. But the usually dominant center was cold, going 2-for-11 in regulation and just 11 points on the night.
Steve Blake — in his first game as a Warrior — took his first shot with three seconds on the clock and drained a three to a huge ovation.
With the 14th lead change of the first half, Klay Thompson hit a mid-range jumper to put the Warriors on top 35-34, with 7:03 to play in the second quarter, and kept the Rockets scoreless for over three minutes.
Lee finished with 28 points, scoring 13 in the second quarter alone to help the Warriors maintain their lead heading into the second half.
Lee told SFBay that getting stops down the stretch and keeping locked in defensively made the difference int he end:
“These guys have had our number for a little bit and I thought we really competed well as a team tonight.”
Harden dropped 15 points in the third frame as the Rockets staged a comeback that spilled over into the fourth quarter when Houston took the lead, 75-73, for the first time since early in the second quarter.
The game stayed close up to the last second and just as tight during overtime before the Warriors sealed the deal at the free throw line.
The Warriors, now 33-22 overall, face the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday before heading out on a six-game, East Coast road trip.
Golden State snapped Houston’s eight-game winning streak, which was the longest active win streak in the league. … The Warriors snapped a three-game home losing streak to Houston, earning just its fourth win in the last 23 games overall against Houston. … The game saw a total of 20 lead changes, including 13 in the first quarter alone. … Houston out rebounded Golden State 60-49, the most rebounds by a Warriors opponent this season. … James Harden scored 30 of his game-high 39 points in the second half, the most points in a half against the Warriors this season.