Warriors hold off late Rockets' rally

HOUSTON (AP) -- Baron Davis and Jason Richardson have the Golden
State Warriors playing their best basketball in nearly a month.

Davis scored 23 and Richardson added 22 to help Golden State
hold off the reeling Houston Rockets 94-89 on Saturday night.

Davis also had seven assists and five rebounds and Richardson
added six rebounds and five assists for the Warriors, who have won
three straight games.

The two have combined averaged 53 points and 12 assists during
the winning streak.

"Our guard play is a big key," Richardson said. "It's huge,
especially when you're on the road."

The duo had 66 points in Friday's 111-109 win at Dallas.
Richardson scored 36 and Davis had 12 assists in a 111-109 win at
Boston on Wednesday.

"Every time down, you know they're going to them," said
Houston point guard Rafer Alston, who returned after missing 19
games with a leg injury. "When they get it going, they can pretty
much shoot from anywhere on the court."

This time, Davis and Richardson carried their team into the
final minute, then watched Tracy McGrady nearly lead the Rockets
back from a late 13-point deficit.

Golden State had lost five in a row before its current winning
streak. The Warriors won five straight from Nov. 25-Dec. 2.

McGrady scored 25 in the second half, but missed two 3-pointers
in the final seconds that would've tied the game.

"T-Mac is so hard to stop," said Richardson, who guarded
McGrady most of the game. "You just try to find ways to slow him
down, but once he gets going, it's pretty hard."

The Rockets trailed 87-74 when McGrady started the Rockets'
final rally with a deep jumper with 3:01 to play. He sank another 3
from the top of the key with 1:26 remaining and Alston made it
90-86 with a 3-pointer from the corner with 51.5 seconds left.

The Rockets were mad at themselves after the game for not
playing that hard earlier.

"If we would've played the first two or three quarters like we
played in the last five minutes," McGrady said, "it would've been
a different outcome."

On Houston's next possession, Richardson fouled McGrady on a
3-point attempt and McGrady sank all three free throws with 18.4
seconds left to cut the lead to 90-89.

Derek Fisher hit two free throws with 14.4 seconds left to put
the Warriors up 92-89.

After McGrady rimmed out the two 3-pointers on Houston's frantic
last possession, Troy Murphy sank two free throws in the closing
seconds for the final margin.

"He hits those 3s and you know he can do that," Golden State
coach Mike Montgomery said of McGrady, "but the odds have got to
come back to you at some point."

McGrady was lucky he was even there for the finish.

Less than two minutes into the game, McGrady landed awkwardly on
a drive. He was fouled, missed a free throw, made the second, then
limped to the locker room -- the last thing the injury-ravaged
Rockets needed to see.

Alston was back, but the Rockets are still without Yao Ming,
who's out at least five more weeks after toe surgery. Guards Derek
Anderson and Jon Barry also sat out again with calf injuries.

McGrady returned five minutes after hurting his ankle -- but with
heavy tape protecting it.

"It's a little sore," McGrady said. "It took me a little
while to get going because I'm not accustomed to having much tape
on my foot."

Even with their star back, the Rockets had their usual offensive
struggles, going 16 of 40 (40 percent) from the field in the first

McGrady had 7 at the break, far from the 21 he scored in first
half on Tuesday against the Jazz. He left that game at halftime in
time to see his fiancee give birth to their second child at a local

McGrady came out for the second half on Saturday, but the
Warriors opened with a 15-4 run anyway to build a 64-48 lead.

"To get ourselves in a situation like that -- to be down and
wait until the last five minutes to bring that intensity to try to
win ball games -- teams are too good for that," McGrady said. "We
have to look at the last five minutes -- how intense we were -- and
realize this is how we've got to play from start to finish if we
want to start winning."
^Notes:@ Golden State center Adonal Foyle sat out with back spasms.
...Golden State assistant coach Mario Elie played for the Rockets
from 1993-98 ...The Rockets lost for the first time in four
straight New Year's Eve home games. ...The Rockets fell to 1-5
since Yao went out with an infected big toe on Dec. 17.