Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/19

Game 1: Wednesday, November 19th
Game 2: Monday, January 5th
Game 3: Friday, March 19th
Game 4: Tuesday, April 6th

Rockets 84


Warriors 90

(28-40, 21-13 home)

    7:30 PM ET, March 19, 2004

    ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 19 18 17 3084
    GS 20 21 12 3790

    Top Performers

    Hou: C. Mobley 25 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    GS: M. Pietrus 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Yao shoots only 4-for-15

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Erick Dampier wasn't about to be pushed around by Yao Ming -- even if the 7-foot-6 Chinese center has a 7-inch height advantage and outweighs Dampier by 45 pounds.

    Dampier held Yao in check, and rookie Mickael Pietrus scored a career-high 20 points and had another stellar defensive game in the Golden State Warriors' third straight win, 90-84 over Houston on Friday night.

    "When players are coming at me, I feel I've got to go back at them, especially him," Dampier said. "We just came out to be physical with him from the start of the game. We met him at the free-throw line and showed him it wasn't going to be easy for him. What you get, you have to work for."

    Troy Murphy added 16 points -- eight straight during one stretch in the second quarter -- to help the Warriors end a 15-game home losing streak against the Rockets. Murphy, coming back from foot and ankle injuries, was taken to the locker room with 1:09 left as a precautionary measure with a mild left ankle sprain.

    Cuttino Mobley led Houston with 25 points, and Yao had 10 points and nine rebounds -- shooting just 4-for-15 after getting 29 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks in a loss to Phoenix on Monday night.

    Golden State has won three in a row following its season-long nine-game losing streak, and won this one before a sellout crowd of 19,596.

    Pietrus drew a tough defensive assignment for the third time this week, and shut down Steve Francis until he made two 3-pointers and a lay-in during the final 30 seconds to finish with 19 points and eight rebounds. Francis shot 6-for-16, and was 1-of-11 last time against Golden State.

    "They didn't play very good defense on me," Francis said. "They fouled me for 48 minutes, so if you call that defense."

    Pietrus had a career-best three 3-pointers, hitting a decisive 3 with 5:45 left. Earlier this week, he flustered San Antonio's Tony Parker and held Orlando's Tracy McGrady, the NBA's leading scorer, to 18 points.

    "The NBA is not a soft game. It's a hard game," Pietrus said. "I put my heart on the team."

    The Rockets, seventh in the Western Conference, have dropped their last two games after winning five straight. Houston beat Golden State in two earlier meetings this season and the teams play once more next month.

    Yao started the game 1-for-5 and sat for much of the first half. Dampier, who's 6-11, and 6-10 Adonal Foyle both spent time defending Yao and effectively kept him out of the paint for most of the first half.

    "Dampier was getting much deeper post position than Yao got," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "So certainly that was huge. But it's not just on him. Our whole post game was not where we needed it to be."

    The Rockets ended the third quarter with a 13-4 run, including seven points by Mobley, to take a 54-53 lead heading into the final period. But they couldn't hold it.

    Charles Oakley got in the game for the final 1:59 a day after the 40-year-old power forward signed a 10-day contract with the Rockets. The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Oakley just wants to contribute down the stretch.

    "I'm trying to fit in and help us get to the playoffs," he said. "This late in the season, I'm trying to play consistently."

    Golden State clinched a winning record at home for the second straight season -- the first time the Warriors have had back-to-back winning home seasons since 1990-91 and 1991-92.

    The Warriors have won three straight only two other times this season -- most recently from Jan. 24-30 when they beat Portland, Minnesota and Chicago.

    Both teams came out cold on offense, with the Warriors shooting 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) in the first quarter to 8-for-23 (34.8) by the Rockets. Golden State led 41-37 at halftime.

    "We are one of the most underrated defensive teams in the league right now," Warriors coach Eric Musselman said.

    Game notes

    It was the Warriors' fifth sellout of the season. ... The Warriors issued about 20 credentials to Asian media because of Yao. ... Yao said before the game the Rockets need to cut down on their miscues. The Rockets had 27 turnovers against Phoenix and 22 Friday. "Turnovers are a big problem for our team," he said. "If we don't improve, it's going to cause a lot of problems in the playoffs." ... Injured Warriors point guard Nick Van Exel (chronic left knee inflammation) will remain in Houston for several weeks to work with his personal doctor. ... The Rockets are 3-14 against the West on the road.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 90
    FGM-FGA 32-79 (.405) 30-70 (.429)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 5-13 (.385)
    FTM-FTA 16-19 (.842) 25-31 (.806)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-38 14-42
    Assists 11 18
    Turnovers 22 20
    Steals 10 8
    Blocks 7 3
    Fast Break Points 3 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (0/0) 22 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Golden State
    Cuttino Mobley Mobley
    Points: 25
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Mickael Pietrus Pietrus
    Points: 20
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1