Kevin Martin leads Rockets past Warriors
The Houston Rockets have had trouble holding fourth-quarter leads. Not Wednesday night.
Kevin Martin scored 25 points and the Rockets held off the foul-prone Golden State Warriors 111-101 to snap a four-game losing streak.
''We played with a sense of urgency in that fourth quarter,'' guard Kevin Lowry said. ''It was very positive for us and it was definitely a stepping stone for us and our futures play. We just have to finish.''
The Rockets took advantage of the Warriors' fouls, hitting 39 of 51 free throws. Golden State has lost six of its last seven games after starting the season 6-2.
''We came out from the start just ready to play tonight and it just carried throughout the game for the whole 48 minutes,'' Martin said. ''That's what we've got to do night in and night out.''
Luis Scola added 24 points and 12 rebounds for Houston. Chuck Hayes had 16 points, Shane Battier 13 and Kevin Lowry added 14 points and 10 assists.
Dorell Wright led Golden State with 24 points, Stephen Curry had 21, and Monta Ellis 18. Curry fouled out with 15 seconds to play and Andris Biedrins and Vladimir Radmanovic finished the game with five fouls each.
''There's not a lot to say,'' Warriors coach Keith Smart said. ''We didn't get off to a good start and we had to fight back the whole game. We are not making smart decisions and making critical errors at the wrong time.''
The Rockets never trailed, but had to fight off a pair of charges by the Warriors.
Golden State cut it to two at 88-86 with 8:35 to play, but the Rockets responded with an 11-0 run.
Houston had a 50-37 advantage with 5:19 to go in the second quarter. The Warriors cut that to 59-51 by the end of the second period and that was just the start of the Warriors' rally.
Golden State outscored the Rockets 18-11 to start the third quarter and cut Houston's lead to one at 70-69. That was as close as the Warriors could get in the third period. Houston led 82-78 going into the fourth period.
''We needed this one,'' Hayes said. ''We needed to win at home and we also just needed to win to stop the losing streak. It's been a tough 14 games. Some games we've been in it and some games mentally we've put ourselves out of it.''
The Warriors were foul-prone from the start. The Rockets hit 22 of 26 free throws for a 59-51 lead at the half.
''We definitely couldn't get the momentum on our side,'' Curry said. ''Houston had the crowd and we weren't able to execute and they kept control of the game. I thought we were pretty aggressive by driving to the basket but they seemed to play smarter defensively.''
Houston led 41-29 with 9:13 to go in the second quarter and built a 50-37 lead with 5:19 to go. Martin had 12 first-half points.
The Rockets are playing without injured Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks, leaving coach Rick Adelman with a huge job of lineup shuffling to get a winning combination.
''Obviously, we're very small,'' Adelman said. ''We've tried to match up with that. It helps at one end but we haven't had a lot of experience with that trying to run anything offensively, especially with the combination we have out there.
Still, a victory is sweet, attained in any manner.
''Our guys played hard,'' Adelman said. ''We got enough stops in the fourth quarter to open up the lead and we made some free throws at the end.''
NOTES: Golden State's 132-128 victory over the Rockets on Oct. 27 snapped a nine-game Houston winning streak over the Warriors. ... Ellis has scored 20 or more points in 12 of his 14 games, including a career-high 46 points on opening night against the Rockets. ... Houston extended its home winning streak to five games over the Warriors.