HOUSTON -- To a man, the Golden State Warriors spoke of erasing the embarrassment, of washing away the stench from their lackluster performance the previous evening despite the fact that their roster would be as short-handed on Thursday night as it was one night earlier.
Warriors guard Klay Thompson claimed his individual battle with Rockets guard James Harden while forward Draymond Green produced his league-leading fifth triple-double in a 114-110 win over the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center that proved both gratifying and redemptive.
Thompson poured in a game-high 38 points and hit a pair of pull-up jumpers inside the final three minutes to cap an 8-0 run that gave the Warriors (30-2) a 113-102 lead and stifled the Rockets once and for all.
Green finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 16 assists and embraced the responsibility of orchestrating the offense with league MVP Stephen Curry sidelined again with a left leg injury.
"I knew we were going to slow the game down and the ball was going to come back through me a lot," Green said. "The way those guys were overplaying passing lanes, which they do and they do it well, we had to use their pressure against them. Each time our guards made the right reads coming out backdoor and they were finishing."
The Warriors' unselfishness was their hallmark. Golden State assisted on 35 of its 43 field goals. Guard Shaun Livingston, subbing for Curry, totaled seven assists to complement his 13 points. Reserve forward Andre Iguodala had 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting plus four assists.
Golden State, down four rotation players including Curry, lost at Dallas 114-91 on Wednesday night. With the same cast of characters, the Warriors resembled the outfit that has run roughshod over the NBA.
"It's an entirely different offense without Steph out there and what Steph does to a game with how much attention he draws," Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said. "In Dallas ... we never put their defense under attack. Our guys, not liking the fact they were blown out, they were focused and they were moving the ball and executing. They did exactly what they had to do to win a game without four of our guys."
Harden paced the Rockets (16-18) with 30 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals while center Dwight Howard posted 21 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Guard Patrick Beverley added 15 points.
Houston has dropped seven consecutive regular-season games to the Warriors.
Golden State turned a 10-0 burst late in the third quarter, a spurt that featured 3s from Thompson and Iguodala, into a working margin entering the fourth. Houston cut the deficit to 105-102 on a Harden step-back jumper with 4:53 left before the Warriors closed out the win.
Golden State eviscerated the Rockets with an endless stream of weak-side cuts to the basket in the first quarter. Thompson provided the early thrust scoring 17 points in the period, including nine in succession for an 18-17 lead. The Warriors added four layups before the first came to a close, and Houston needed a 3-pointer from reserve guard Marcus Thornton to slice the deficit to 33-30 entering the second.
"Their big men are really good passers so the court is always spaced," Harden said of the Warriors. "And they've got room to cut; they've got room to move. They're going to get the backdoor layups and get the open 3s."
After recording 12 assists on 14 field goals in the first quarter, the Warriors went 8-for-8 in the second. Green closed the half with a dozen assists, matching the NBA mark for one half this season. He had six assists in the second, and his 3 with 7:42 left gave the Warriors a 47-43 lead. It required a second four-point play from Harden, this one with 37.4 seconds left, for the Rockets to pull even at 59-59 before a Livingston transition dunk lifted the Warriors to a halftime lead.
Green recorded the assist on the Livingston basket.
"It's like having an extra point guard out there," Thompson said of Green. "He's a really special talent. He deserves to go to the All-Star Game this year, and he's one of the best players in the league."
NOTES: Warriors G Stephen Curry missed his second consecutive game with a left lower leg injury, although he worked out before tipoff and showed signs of improvement. Golden State was again without four rotation players: Curry, C Festus Ezeli (sore left toe), F Harrison Barnes (sprained left ankle) and G Leandro Barbosa (left shoulder sprain). ... Rockets F Terrence Jones returned to action after sitting out Tuesday night with flu-like symptoms. He scored two points in 15 minutes. ... Warriors coach Steve Kerr was on his first road trip of the season and appears close to a return to the bench. Interim coach Luke Walton, asked if he has given any thought to the pending conclusion to his term, quipped, "Not at all."