HOUSTON — Stephen Curry is well aware that Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has crafted his team specifically to try and beat the Golden State Warriors.
“As much as he talks about it, yeah it’s hard not to,” Curry said. “It’s pretty ... clear.”
But on Thursday night with the Rockets missing the most important piece on their team in James Harden, Chris Paul and his supporting cast were not enough to overcome the defending champions.
Curry scored 29 points, Klay Thompson had 28 and the Warriors pulled away late in the fourth quarter for a 124-114 victory.
Draymond Green added a triple-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists to become the franchise career leader in triple-doubles with 21. It was his second this season to move him past Tom Gola.
The Warriors extended their road winning streak to nine games and have won an NBA-best 16 road games this season.
The teams stayed close through most of the game, but the Warriors had a seven-point lead with about 3½ minutes left. They scored the next five points, highlighted by a 3 from Curry, to make it 120-109 and send many of the home fans streaming for the exits.
The Rockets got 30 points from Eric Gordon and Gerald Green came off the bench to score 29 and tie a career high with eight 3-pointers as they played their second game without Harden, who is out for at least two weeks with a hamstring strain.
“We’ve got to get better as a team,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We’re just not quite there defensively, communication, all the stuff we can control we’re not doing.”
The Warriors were short-handed, too, playing without Kevin Durant, who missed the game with a strained right calf. But Andre Iguodala returned after sitting out Wednesday night with back and hip strains and had 10 points and eight assists.
“Obviously they were missing their best player without James, so we felt like there was an opportunity for us,” Thompson said.
Curry added nine rebounds and five assists and a steal in his third game back after missing 11 with a sprained right ankle.
Golden State led by 10 after a dunk by David West with about 7½ minutes remaining. The Rockets scored the next five points, with a 3-pointer from Gerald Green, to get to 108-103, but the Warriors scored the next five points to go up by 10 again.
The Warriors were up by 3 after three and opened the fourth quarter with an 8-1 run to make it 101-91 with about 10 minutes left.
Paul re-entered the game after that and he helped get things going when he found Gordon for a 3-pointer, which started a 7-2 run that cut the lead to 103-98. Paul finished with 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
Gerald Green’s second 3-pointer in less than a minute put Houston up by two midway through the third quarter. The Warriors scored the next seven points, with a 3-pointer from Thompson, to take a 79-74 lead about a minute later.
They didn’t stay on top for long, though, as the Rockets scored the next 11 points to go up 85-79. Gerald Green delighted the crowd when he knocked down a 3 from the corner before being fouled Iguodala and crashing to the ground. He also made the free throw.