Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/14

Game 1: Wednesday, December 14th
Game 2: Saturday, December 31st
Game 3: Friday, February 24th
Game 4: Friday, April 7th

Warriors 94

(17-14, 8-7 away)

Rockets 89

(10-18, 3-9 home)

Coverage: FSBAY

6:00 PM ET, December 31, 2005

Toyota Center, Houston, TX

1 2 3 4 T
GS 23 26 25 2094
HOU 18 26 22 2389

Top Performers

Golden State: J. Richardson 22 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

Houston: T. McGrady 32 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

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 half.

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 hospital.

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 94 89
FGM-FGA 31-82 (.378) 32-78 (.410)
3PM-3PA 6-24 (.250) 5-23 (.217)
FTM-FTA 26-33 (.788) 20-27 (.741)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-41 12-44
Assists 17 12
Turnovers 6 9
Steals 5 0
Blocks 0 5
Fast Break Points 4 2
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 29 (1/0)
Largest Lead 16 0

Top Performers

Golden State
Jason Richardson Richardson
Points: 22
Reb: 6
Ast: 5
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
Tracy McGrady McGrady
Points: 32
Reb: 10
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 2