OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Houston Rockets won the bid for Dwight Howard in free agency over the Golden State Warriors this summer, and they’re winning the matchup on the court again this season.
James Harden had 26 points and nine assists, Chandler Parsons scored 23 points and Houston held off Golden State 116-112 on Friday night for its second win over the Warriors in the last week.
“If we’re going to chase our goals and the dreams that we have for our season, we have to win games like tonight,” said Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson, who filled in for Kevin McHale for the second game in a row following the death of the coach’s mother.
Houston, which has won 18 of its past 22 over Golden State, had every excuse to start slowly.
The Rockets lost at Portland on Thursday night and landed in the Bay Area early Friday morning. Most players and coaches arrived only about an hour before the scheduled start because the final team bus was stuck in traffic getting over the bridge from San Francisco, where most visiting teams stay.
Houston overcame all those obstacles and more.
Howard finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds while spending most of the night in foul trouble for the Rockets, who led by 13 points late in the third quarter before the Warriors briefly rallied ahead in the fourth. Patrick Beverley scored nine of his 16 points in the final period to help Houston regain control.
David Lee had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Stephen Curry scored 20 and had nine assists for the Warriors, who outrebounded the Rockets 56-32. But Houston outshot Golden State 49.4 to 47.8 percent and made more big plays late.
The Warriors also committed 18 turnovers, while the Rockets had 15.
“We made too many careless, untimely turnovers when it mattered most,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said.
The Warriors fell behind early again in what has become a troubling trend at home. Golden State came back from deficits of 27 and 18 points to win its previous two games at Oracle Arena over Toronto and Dallas, respectively.
This time, Houston had too much for the Warriors to withstand, including Howard.
Howard converted a three-point play after getting fouled by Lee, giving Houston a 103-98 lead with 2:15 left.
In other games
Pistons 103, Nets 99
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Andre Drummond had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Detroit held off a determined Brooklyn rally.
Detroit led by 21 early in the third quarter, but the Nets cut the deficit to two before the Pistons’ Kyle Singler made two free throws with 10 seconds left.
Deron Williams led the Nets with 22 points.
Hawks 101, Wizards 99 (OT)
In Atlanta, Al Horford scored a season-high 34 points, including a jumper as time expired in overtime, and the Hawks recovered after blowing a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Celtics 90, Knicks 86
In Boston, Avery Bradley scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, hitting a 3-pointer with 2:38 to play to give the Celtics the lead for good.
Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and Andrea Bargnani had 22 for New York, which lost for the third time in four games and 12th in its past 15.
Bulls 91, Bucks 90
In Milwaukee, Mike Dunleavy hit a 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds left and Joakim Noah came up with a block on the other end, leading Chicago to the win.
Noah scored 21 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Bulls, who ended a three-game losing streak.
Pelicans 104, Grizzlies 98
In New Orleans, Eric Gordon made 10 of 12 shots on his way to 25 points, and the Hornets won their second straight game.
Raptors 108, 76ers 100
In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points, Terrence Ross had a season-high 24 and the Raptors handed Philadelphia its fifth straight loss.
Spurs 117, Timberwolves 110
In San Antonio, Tony Parker had 29 points to offset a season-high 42 from Kevin Love, and the Spurs rallied for a victory over Minnesota.
Cavaliers 109, Magic 100
In Orlando, Kyrie Irving scored 31 points, Dion Waiters added 21, and Cleveland used a big second half to earn a road victory.
Pacers 99, Bobcats 94
In Indianapolis, Lance Stephenson had 20 points and 11 rebounds to help the Pacers improve their franchise-record home start to 11-0 with a victory over Charlotte.
Suns 116, Kings 107
In Phoenix, Goran Dragic scored 29 points and fellow guard Eric Bledsoe had a career-high 28 as the Suns extended their season-high winning streak to four games.
Jazz 103, Nuggets 93
In Denver, Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 30 points to go with a career-high 13 rebounds.