March 23, 2011
WARRIORS (30-41) vs.
Coverage begins at 5 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Rockets are outside the Western Conference playoff picture, but led by Kyle Lowry, they're playing like they want to change that.
Coming off his first career triple-double, Lowry looks to help the Rockets win their fifth in a row and extend their home dominance over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
Houston (37-34) has won 11 of 14 but trails Memphis by two games for the final playoff spot in the West. The Rockets earned a key win Sunday over one of the teams chasing them for that postseason berth, defeating Utah 110-108.
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Houston built an early 12-point lead and then held off the Jazz by not allowing a field goal for more than seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
"These guys, they're laying it out on the line," coach Rick Adelman said. "Everything they've got, they're laying it out there right now. They know what's ahead of them, they know what's going on and they're busting their tails. I think that's the difference. The attitude is we're going to do whatever it takes to win the game."
Kevin Martin scored 34 points and made all 18 free-throw attempts, while Lowry finished with 28 points, a career-high 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Lowry has averaged 20.4 points in 10 games this month, up from his season average of 13.2. He scored seven points in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter against the Jazz, hitting all five free throws.
Lowry has the highest fourth-quarter scoring average on the Rockets in March at 5.8 points.
"We have to execute at the end of games," Lowry said. "I think it's not that you play, it's just that you make sure you do what you've got to do to try and win the game."
Houston will try to close its six-game homestand on a high note before beginning a three-game road trip versus East opponents. The Rockets have won two of three against the Warriors this season, giving them 11 victories in 12 matchups, and they've taken the last six meetings at home.
Martin has averaged 27.7 points in his last three against Golden State.
The Warriors (30-41) have dropped five in a row, falling 111-96 at San Antonio on Monday. The Spurs scored 23 points off 17 turnovers and led 32-21 at the end of the first quarter.
REWIND: Spurs get past Warriors as Duncan gets hurt
"We can score the ball pretty good," point guard Acie Law said. "We've just got to finish it out defensively. It's been a long season and it's a work in progress. Hopefully we can get better ... We won't give up, we are going to continue to fight it out."
Golden State has given up 112.2 points the last five games, up from its season average of 105.9 that is second worst in the league.
Leading scorer Monta Ellis will try to bounce back after another rough night, as he finished with 10 points and shot 4 of 13. Ellis is averaging 24.2 points but has scored 12.0 per contest while shooting 33 percent over the last three games.
Ellis, though, should be very happy to see Houston. He scored a career high-tying 46 points in a 132-128 home win over the Rockets on Oct. 27 and had 44 in a 121-112 home loss to Houston on Dec. 20.
The guard struggled at the Toyota Center on Nov. 24, scoring 18 points and going 7 of 21 from the field as the Warriors fell 111-101, but he's averaged 32.0 points in his last six games in the series.