HOUSTON • To a man, the Golden State Warriors spoke of erasing the embarrassment, of washing away the stench from their lacklustre performance the previous evening.
This 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 Houston guard James Harden, while forward Draymond Green produced his National Basketball Association (NBA) league-leading fifth triple-double in a 114-110 win over the Rockets at Toyota Centre 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 offence with league Most Valuable Player 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," he 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.
They assisted on 35 of their 43 field goals. Guard Shaun Livingston, covering for Curry, totalled 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 91-114 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 offence 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 defence 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 centre Dwight Howard posted 21 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Guard Patrick Beverley added 15 points.
Houston have dropped seven consecutive regular-season games to the Warriors.
"We're just inconsistent. We played a pretty good game up until the end of the third quarter, when they went on a 10-0 run," Harden said.
"Giving up small buckets like that to a really good team is something you couldn't really do."