W's drop fifth straight heading into All-Star break
Jeremy Lin scored 14 points and dished out 10 assists against his former team Tuesday night. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- It would have been a shame to cap Golden State's best first half since the 2007-08 season with five consecutive losses, but that's exactly what the Warriors did as they failed to earn their elusive 31st win against the Rockets Tuesday night, falling 116-107.
Looking for a boost from Jarrett Jack's return to action and the team's return to Oakland, not even the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 could spur the Warriors into a late-game streak.
The Warriors led 34-30 after the first, and previously had been 8-1 when scoring 30-plus in the opening quarter. But after Draymond Green's 28-foot bomb pulled Golden State within five points, the Warriors allowed the Rockets to close the third quarter on an 8-4 run on the power of two quick turnovers and a failure to get back on defense.
Stephen Curry scored a game-high 27 points, besting Jeremy Lin in their second regular season matchup, but his strong fourth-quarter effort was not enough. When the game looked to be shifting to the Rockets, consecutive three pointers from Curry and Jarrett Jack brought the Warriors within six with just under 10 minutes remaining, but they could never close the gap.
After allowing 60-plus points in the first half of each of their four-game road trip, the Warriors defense allowed 57 to the Rockets Tuesday.
Head coach Mark Jackson repeatedly cited the team's failure to play stout defense and rebound the ball over their losing streak, and at times the Warriors closed out with intensity and finished possessions with strong rebounds against the Rockets. But other times they were sloppy, jumping at pump fakes and allowing cutters across their face. It resulted in too many easy layups as the Rockets outscored the Warriors in the paint.
The Rockets had a scare with 7:10 left in the third quarter when James Harden took a fast break directly at David Lee and rolled his right ankle when he stepped on Lee's foot. Harden had a team-high 18 points when it happened, and he stuck around long enough to make his two free throws before being ushered to the locker room with a significant limp.
The Warriors trailed 71-67 at the time, but they couldn't take advantage of Harden's absence. When he reemerged from the locker room and attempted his next shot, the Rockets had increased their lead. The shot he attempted was a missed three, one of 24 for the Rockets, who tied the NBA record with 23 three-pointers in their 140-109 Warrior beatdown Feb. 5. They were 23-for-40 (.575) that night, compared to 10-for-34 (.294) Tuesday. But this time, the Rockets came right at the Warriors. Harden and Lin combined to go 19-for-19 from the charity stripe, while Golden State missed eight chances.
At 6-foot-9 and 227 pounds, Chandler Parsons provided serious matchup problems for the Warriors and finished a few stats shy of a triple-double with 21 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Jeremy Lin claimed the first bout with a game-high 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting in the Rockets' Feb. 5 win. But Curry vs. Lin II went to the Warriors point guard, despite the outcome of the game.
Curry finished tied with James Harden with a game-high 27 points, adding six assists and five rebounds.
Lin wasn't too shabby himself, however, notching 14 points and 10 assists. He made just three of 11 shots.
When Andrew Bogut came out of the game in the first quarter, Omer Asik had his way in the painted area. After the Warriors took at 21-12 lead, Asik helped the Rockets pull within four at the end of the first with seven points and seven rebounds in the opening period.
It was Asik's biggest quarter, but the 7-footer finished with a double-double, 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Bucking the trend
For the first time in the last 10 seasons, the Warriors lost their final game before the All-Star break, and for the first time in those ten years, they'll be sending a representative to partake.