OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors made another stirring fourth-quarter comeback Friday night, but this time the opposition didn't cave to their surge.
The Houston Rockets held off a furious fourth-quarter charge by the Warriors and claimed a 116-112 victory at Oracle Arena, their 18th win in 22 games over the Warriors and their second in two meetings this year.
After trailing by as many as 13 at one point and nine heading into the final period, the Warriors took the lead on twice over the final 12 minutes and appeared primed for another come-from-behind victory when Harrison Barnes' offensive rebound stuff tied the score 98-98 with 3:18 to go.
But Chandler Parsons scored quickly for Houston, and Dwight Howard, who missed much of the fourth quarter because of foul trouble, delivered a three-point play with 2:15 left on a put-back.
That gave the Rockets a 103-98 lead the Warriors couldn't overcome. After Curry's layup cut the deficit to three with 1:36 to go, Patrick Beverley answered with a tough shot over the Warriors guard.
Harden led Houston with 26 points, but the Rockets won with key contributions throughout their lineup. Parsons scored 23, and Howard had 18 points and 11 rebounds,
The Warriors were led by David Lee with 23 points. Curry had 20, but he and fellow guard Klay Thompson were a combined 2 for 12 from 3-point range.
The Warriors started their fourth-quarter surge behind an unlikely source, forward Marreese Speights, from whom the Warriors had gotten very little since the start of the season, but on this night he scored 16 points and added nine rebounds.
Speights seemed to wake up when he made a last-second tip-in to end the third quarter, and he was hot through much of the fourth, scoring 12 points to lead a Warriors comeback.
His short jumper on a pass from Curry with 8:08 to go gave the Warriors their first lead since the opening quarter, 85-84, and he made an 18-footer with 6:31 left for a 91-90 advantage.
It was back and forth from there until Houston, now 16-8, made its late stand to pull out the win.
With Howard out of the game with four fouls, the Warriors made a third-quarter run and got to within 62-60 on two free throws by Curry with 8:36 to go in the period. But the Rockets opened it back up on the strength of two 3-pointers by Francisco Garcia and one by Omri Casspi.
Garcia's second 3-pointer gave the Rockets a 75-65 lead with 3:31 to go in the third, and Houston carried an 82-73 lead into the final quarter.
The Warriors' start wasn't as sluggish as it has been in several recent games, but they trailed 30-29 after one quarter and 58-51 at halftime.
Curry picked up three early fouls and left the court with 5:07 to go in the first quarter. The Warriors actually went on a 9-2 run while he was out to tie the score at 28-28, but the Rockets surged back ahead in the second and took a 52-39 lead.
-- Center Jermaine O'Neal had successful arthroscopic surgery Friday morning to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist. He will begin rehabilitation immediately, but it is not known if he will return this season.
-- Center Festus Ezeli, still recovering from offseason knee surgery, did some light work on the court, but coach Mark Jackson said Ezeli is still "a ways away."
-- The Warriors honored recent Hall of Fame inductee Bernard King during the game. King played two standout seasons with the Warriors from 1980-82, averaging 22.5 points.
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