Brooks, Landry lead Rockets past Warriors
HOUSTON – The Houston Rockets finally got a breather after a month of close games.
Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry scored 24 points apiece, and the Rockets salvaged the last game of their longest homestand of the season, routing the Golden State Warriors 119-97 on Tuesday night.
Trevor Ariza scored 18 points and Chuck Hayes grabbed 13 rebounds for the Rockets, who finished their six-game homestand with a disappointing 2-4 record.
The Rockets led by as many as 28 and won easily, a much-needed blowout after they went 7-9 in the previous 16 games, all decided by 10 points or less.
“I don’t remember the last time I sat on the bench at the end of a game,” said Brooks, who also had eight rebounds and six assists. “It felt good to just be able to sit there and relax.”
Monta Ellis scored 34 points for the Warriors, who’ve lost six in a row overall and 12 of their last 13 road games. Corey Maggette, Golden State’s second-leading scorer, sat out with a hip pointer, and the short-handed Warriors fell into a 21-point hole in the first quarter.
Houston hit 11 of its first 17 shots against the NBA’s worst defensive team, and Golden State matched its sloppy early defense with poor shooting, missing 12 of its first 17 shots.
“We couldn’t find it offensively,” said Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who scored 14. “For us to be competitive, we have to be able to make plays and we didn’t. We just didn’t come ready to play.”
Luis Scola’s layup with 45 seconds left in the first quarter put Houston up 39-21 and set a Rockets’ season-high point total for any quarter this season.
“We got in there, we handled our business and got the job done today,” Brooks said.
Ellis scored six points to lead an 8-2 Golden State run early in the second quarter. The Rockets gave away five turnovers in the first three minutes of the quarter and led only 41-33 after Ellis’ jumper.
Ellis swished Golden State’s first 3-pointer with 3:38 left in the half, then assisted on Coby Karl’s fast-break layup to draw Golden State within three, at 49-46. The Rockets helped the Warriors by continuing to miss shots and cough up careless turnovers.
Houston’s starters returned and rebuilt the lead to 59-49 by halftime. Ellis scored 27 points in the first half on 10-of-17 shooting. No other Warrior had more than six points at the break.
“Monta had a very good game,” Golden State coach Don Nelson said, “but he just didn’t have any help.”
The Rockets opened the third quarter with a 9-2 burst, running their offense as smoothly as they did at the start of the game. They also held Ellis to one field goal in the first eight minutes of the quarter and extended the lead to 73-57.
Ellis had 34 points through three quarters, his 19th 30-plus game of the season, but no other Warrior had more than seven.
“We had to load to him, get bodies in front of him,” Brooks said. “The first half, he would spin baseline and get dunks and would go backdoor and there was nobody there to help. We did a better job of controlling that in the second half.”
Shane Battier and Brooks sank consecutive 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to 20, and Ellis went to the bench for good with 9:18 remaining. Adelman had most of his starters on the bench by the 5-minute mark.
NOTES: The Warriors dropped to 3-28 when they’re outscored in the third quarter. … The Rockets have won 17 consecutive home games in February, dating to a 106-90 loss to Toronto on Feb. 28, 2007. … Adelman said C Yao Ming is on schedule in his recovery from surgery to repair a hairline fracture in his left foot. Yao underwent the complicated procedure in July, and he’s out for this season. But Yao wasn’t wearing a protective boot when he sank more than 90 of 100 free throws before Sunday’s game against Phoenix. Adelman said he isn’t sure when Yao will be ready to resume full basketball activities. Yao did not attend Tuesday’s game.
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