Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/14

Game 1: Wednesday, December 14th
Rockets111Final
OT
Warriors105
Game 2: Saturday, December 31st
Warriors94Final
Rockets89
Game 3: Friday, February 24th
Warriors88Final
Rockets91
Game 4: Friday, April 7th
Rockets100Final
Warriors93

Warriors 88

(24-30, 9-16 away)

Rockets 91

(24-31, 10-16 home)

    Coverage: FSBAY

    7:30 PM ET, February 24, 2006

    Toyota Center, Houston, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    GS 21 24 23 2088
    HOU 23 29 24 1591

    Top Performers

    Golden State: J. Richardson 39 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Houston: Y. Ming 22 Pts, 21 Reb, 2 Blk

    Yao, Howard lead Houston to first win without McGrady

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Yao Ming knows that when Tracy McGrady is out, even more is expected of him.

    Lucky for the Houston Rockets, he was up to the challenge on Friday night.

    Yao scored 22 points and had a season-high 21 rebounds and the Rockets beat the Golden State Warriors 91-88 for their first win this season without McGrady. Juwan Howard also added 22 points for Houston.

    McGrady was not with the team because of a death in the family, but Houston still won its season-high fourth straight at home. The Rockets had been 0-13 when their leading scorer didn't play.

    "When Tracy is out of the game, it's really hard for us to get open shots," Yao said. "That puts more pressure on me and I had to play much harder."

    Jason Richardson, who had a season-high 39 points, had a chance to put the Warriors on top with 2 seconds left. But Yao put heavy pressure on his 3-point attempt, and it bounced off the glass. David Wesley was fouled and made one of two free throws to secure the win.

    The Rockets led by as many as 15, but squandered that lead and had to overcome a six-point fourth-quarter deficit for the win. It was their ninth win in 11 outings.

    "I don't think our execution was very good," Wesley said. "Our shot selection wasn't very good and, obviously, we were not defending."

    Keith Bogans, acquired from Charlotte on Feb. 9, got his first start with Houston in McGrady's place and scored 13 points.

    Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy was pleased with Bogans' effort, but said he was not in the condition to play 41 minutes Friday.

    "He played a great game," Van Gundy said. "I do love Keith's competitive nature. We sorely missed those kind of personalities. We need guys who have an edge to them."

    Another thing the Rockets need is tough defense, something that Van Gundy believes Yao brings to the team.

    "I don't think Yao gets the credit defensively for the improvements he's made in lateral quickness and mobility," Van Gundy said. "He's made great strides, and it's a nuance of the game that very few want to recognize."

    Richardson had a nifty one-handed dunk to pull Golden State within two with about 30 seconds left, but the Warriors would get no closer.

    "J-Rich had a monster game and he needed some help from other people," Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said.

    Houston tied the game when rookie Luther Head hit a 3-pointer with under 5 minutes to go, and two free throws by Yao put the Rockets ahead 84-82.

    Golden State tied the game at 76 early in the fourth when Richardson capped an 8-0 run with his second 3-pointer of the quarter. His dunk less than a minute later gave the Warriors their first lead of the game.

    The Rockets didn't score for the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. Instead their offense consisted of bad passes and poor shots. Wesley's 20-footer with under 6 minutes remaining ended the drought.

    "We were caving in and I thought they found a spirit and resolve in the last six minutes," Van Gundy said.

    Houston led throughout the third quarter, but the Warriors threatened late in the third when a 3 by Richardson cut the lead to 66-65.

    The Rockets answered with a dunk by Yao and two straight 3-pointers by Head, including an acrobatic one as the shot clock expired, to stretch the lead to 74-65.

    Richardson's seven 3-pointers tied a franchise record. It's the second time he's matched the total.

    Head had 11 points and Rafer Alston and Wesley each added 10.

    Golden State got 16 points from Fisher and 15 from Troy Murphy.

    The Warriors have lost five of seven and travel to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Saturday.

    Game notes


    A bit of comic relief came midway through the third when 6-foot-1 Derek Fisher and 7-6 Yao faced off for a jump ball. The joke was on Yao, though, as Fisher won the tip, eliciting screams of "Come on Yao!" from the crowd. ... Gerald Fitch was with the Rockets on Friday but was inactive, a day after being traded from the Miami Heat for Derek Anderson. ... Warriors point guard Baron Davis missed his fourth consecutive game with a sprained right ankle. ... Howard had his eighth 20-point game of the season. He had just two last season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    GS
    HOU
    Points 88 91
    FGM-FGA 33-84 (.393) 34-80 (.425)
    3PM-3PA 11-23 (.478) 8-23 (.348)
    FTM-FTA 11-22 (.500) 15-20 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-45 10-47
    Assists 21 21
    Turnovers 13 17
    Steals 9 5
    Blocks 6 5
    Fast Break Points 11 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 6 15

    Top Performers

    Golden State
    Houston
    Jason Richardson Richardson
    Points: 39
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Yao Ming Ming
    Points: 22
    Reb: 21
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2