Harden scores 34, Rockets beat Warriors 105-83

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 6, 2013 at 11:04 pm •  Published: December 6, 2013

HOUSTON (AP) — The Rockets' offense is one of the best in the NBA. However, against Golden State on Friday night, it was the defense that was the key.

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

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

Terrence Jones added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who had lost two straight. Harden shot 13 for 22 from the field and 7 for 9 on free throws two nights after shooting 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's going to be tough for us. We were getting huge stops and getting out in transition. We did a good job early in the game of putting pressure on their guards, and we got things going our way."

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 22 points and five assists, but was just 5 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 11 points as the Warriors saw their two-game win streak end.

Golden State shot 36 percent from the field, including 2 for 16 on 3s.

"They're a tough team," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "They shoot a lot of 3s. 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."

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."

The Rockets led 61-37 at halftime and pushed the advantage to 28 on Harden's three-point play less than 2 minutes into the third quarter.

Golden State pulled to 74-50 on Jermaine O'Neal's jumper midway through the third, and the Warriors resorted to 'Hack-a-Howard' with 5:40 remaining in the period.

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