OAKLAND, Calif.--This time at Oracle Arena, it was the Golden State Warriors who made plays in the clutch.
Leave it to wily veteran Jermaine O'Neal to deliver the biggest moment, meeting young Chandler Parsons at the rim to block the potential go-ahead dunk and help preserve the Warriors' 102-99 overtime win against Houston on Thursday.
The 35-year-old O'Neal's defense also limited Rockets center Dwight Howard to 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting, and Stephen Curry provided the shot that sent the game into overtime.
Curry scored on a driving layup with 3.2 seconds left that hung on the rim before falling to tie the score at 89. The shot answered James Harden's, a step-back jump shot with 6.9 seconds left that put the Rockets momentarily ahead 89-87.
The Warriors, who in their previous game at home could only watch as Miami's LeBron James devastated them with a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer, avoided that fate again as Harden missed from long range as time expired in regulation.
Harden scored a game-high 39 points but ended up overshadowed by Curry's 25 points and a turn-back-the-clock moment from O'Neal that stopped the Rockets' winning streak at eight games.
"He's got a million miles on him," coach Mark Jackson said of O'Neal. "He's in the back nine of his career, but he's a gamer."
Playing with a surgically repaired right wrist and in the lineup in place of an injured Andrew Bogut, O'Neal turned away a cutting Parsons with 23.8 seconds left in overtime and the Warriors leading 96-95. Curry hit two free throws on the other end, and Golden State later sealed the win once Klay Thompson stole a pass with 4.9 seconds left and two Draymond Green free throws pushed the lead to five.
David Lee led the Warriors with 28 points and 14 rebounds, helping the Warriors win their second straight game after the All-Star break.
The Warriors took a 47-43 lead at halftime, with O'Neal having played a large role in limiting Howard to three points on 1-for-7 shooting before the teams headed into the locker room.
With Bogut missing a sixth consecutive game because of left shoulder inflammation, O'Neal was solid on defense. It also helped the Warriors that Howard was only 1 for 6 from the free-throw line in the half.
At one point in the third quarter, Howard could only smile after O'Neal took a charge. On the other end of the court, Lee scored to give the Warriors their largest lead of 11 points.
Lee led the frontcourt again, with 17 points and nine rebounds coming in the first half. He went on to notch his fourth straight double-double since returning to the lineup after having been sidelined by injuries.
The backcourt got a boost from new addition Steve Blake, the Warriors' lone acquisition at the NBA's trading deadline that arrived at noon.
Blake's first shot attempt as a Warrior was good, as he swished a 3-pointer with three seconds left in the first quarter. Those would be his only points as he finished 1 for 5 from the floor in 18 minutes.
On the other end of the court, Blake took a charge on Jeremy Lin that was eventually waived off after officials determined it came after the first-quarter buzzer. But the Warriors did get a point out of it, as Rockets coach Kevin McHale was whistled for a technical foul while arguing the original call.
"I'm going to go out there and do whatever it takes to win," Blake said before the game.
Jordan Crawford was the first point guard off the bench for the Warriors, and he soon found himself playing alongside Blake and being freed up as the shooting guard. In the third, Blake spent minutes as the shooting guard alongside Curry.
"That will play itself out," Jackson said of his backup point guard situation. "I'm a guy that's going to watch both guys, and they're going to work their tail off."
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