News ID: 207189
Published: 0252 GMT December 30, 2017

Warriors stunned at home; Wizards hand Rockets fifth straight loss

Warriors stunned at home; Wizards hand Rockets fifth straight loss
Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (L) goes for a dunk past Rockets forward Ryan Anderson during the second half of an NBA game in Washington on December 29, 2017.
ALEX BRANDON/AP

Dwight Howard was so good Friday night against the defending NBA champs that acting Charlotte Hornets coach Stephen Silas rode him to the finish line of a 111-100 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

"He was great," Silas said after Howard scored a season-high 29 points. "I couldn't take him out in the second half."

The Hornets won just their third road game of the season, The Associated Press reported.

"They've had a tough go this year," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "They came in and earned it. They took it to us."

Charlotte, beginning a four-game road trip, arrived with a 2-12 record away from home.

"To get this win here against this team the first game of the road trip means a lot," Silas said. "Hopefully, we can carry that forward."

Six Hornets players scored in double figures, led by Howard, who also had 12 rebounds and seven assists.

The veteran big man had his way inside, especially when the Warriors tried to defend him with rookie Jordan Bell, who was giving up two inches and 40 pounds.

"Obviously, we didn't defend well in general," Kerr said. "Jordan was overpowered."

On the night before the Warriors expect Stephen Curry to return from his sprained right ankle, they lost for just the second time in their past 15 games. They are 9-2 without Curry.

"We've definitely been missing him," said Kevin Durant, who scored 27 points to lead the Warriors. "We're going to definitely be a different team when he comes back."

Klay Thompson scored 24, 13 of them in the first quarter. Draymond Green had eight points, 11 rebounds and tied his career high with 16 assists.

Kerr said the difference was an old story.

"Turnovers. They got 32 points off our turnovers, 18 of them," he said. "What's discouraging is just so many of them feel careless and silly and pointless. Too many times we're going for the home run assist. We've got to just make simple passes and plays."

The league's best third-quarter team, Golden State trailed 79-75 after the Hornets outscored them 26-22 in the third. Two nights earlier, the Warriors scored 42 third-quarter points to bury the Utah Jazz.

"We're not going to do that every third quarter," Kerr said. "We didn't bring the juice."

It didn't get any better for the league's defending champs.

Golden State got no closer than three points in the fourth quarter, and Charlotte's lead reached 95-81 when Jeremy Lamb scored a layup off a feed from Howard to cap an 11-0 run with 6:30 left.

 

Rockets 103 Wizards 121

 

The Houston Rockets won 25 of their first 29 games to notch the NBA’s best record, then quickly entered their worst tailspin in nearly five years.

Otto Porter Jr. scored 26 points, Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 21 each, and the Washington Wizards beat the Rockets 121–103 Friday night for Houston’s fifth straight loss.

It’s the longest skid for the Rockets since dropping seven straight from January 9-19, 2013.

NBA scoring leader James Harden matched his season low with 20 points for the Rockets. Chris Paul returned after missing three games with a strained groin and had eight points and six assists in 26 minutes.

Houston had completed a 14-game winning streak before the alarming slide.

“We just haven’t had a rhythm in these last five games, quite frankly,” Harden said. “We had pretty good spurts, but just a consistent, four-quarter game, we haven’t had that. So hopefully we get back home and kind of buckle down a little bit.”

A night after blowing a 26-point lead in Boston, the Rockets held their last lead midway through the first quarter en route to their worst defeat of the season.

Houston has by far the most three-pointers in the league this season but was held to 29.2 percent (14 for 48) from deep.

 “Mentally we’re fine,” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said.

“We’ve got some tired legs and missing the big guy in the middle to give us a force to the rim.”

   
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