Lee leads Rockets past Golden State

Associated Press Modified: April 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm •  Published: April 21, 2012
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HOUSTON (AP) — Barely alive in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets focused on the one outcome they could control Saturday night.

Courtney Lee scored 20 points, Goran Dragic added 18 points and seven assists and the Rockets snapped a six-game losing streak with a 99-96 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

"We needed this win, so we could get that bad feeling off our backs," said Luis Scola, who had 13 points. "We really, really needed it."

Chase Budinger added 11 points for the Rockets, who came into the game in the 10th spot in the West, one game behind Utah and Phoenix.

Minutes after their game ended, the Rockets tuned in to the start of the Orlando-Utah game as they dressed and prepared for the trip to Miami, where they will play the Heat on Sunday.

"We've been thinking about games and possibilities for all these six games. It didn't work," Scola said. "We've got to go to Miami and win one basketball game and hopefully, just hopefully, at the end of the day, we'll still have chances."

Only two weeks ago, Houston had its fate in its hands after a four-game road winning streak. The Rockets came home and lost to Utah and Phoenix, then dropped a home-and-home set against Denver, another team in the bottom half of the standings.

The Rockets lost road games at Dallas and New Orleans this week, and struggled with the lowly Warriors, who have lost eight in a row.

"We needed to find a way to win one," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "It was just one of those games, we weren't sharp and we made some 3s to get some separation out of them. But it was another one of those games where we really weren't at the top of our game."

Klay Thompson scored 24 points and Brandon Rush added 19 for the Warriors, who have lost 20 of their last 24. The team announced earlier in the day that Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry would undergo surgery on their injured ankles.

Golden State coach Mark Jackson used only eight players and liked their effort.

"I was really proud of my guys," Jackson said. "We were short-handed, but put ourselves in position down the stretch to win the ballgame."