OAKLAND (California) • With a 16-point lead gone, Stephen Curry missing his magic touch and Klay Thompson struggling through an off-game in their National Basketball Association game, the Golden State Warriors somehow found another gear on Tuesday. Its name was Harrison Barnes.
The unheralded forward scored 10 of his 19 points during a 17-5 run to open the fourth quarter, as the Warriors exploded from a tie after three periods into a 123-110 victory over the Houston Rockets.
"I'm really proud of him," Warriors centre Andrew Bogut said of Barnes, who had two points on 1-for-4 shooting through three quarters. "He stuck with it and got it going."
Curry poured in 35 points, his 23rd game with 30 or more this season, helping the Warriors (47-4) gain the distinction of having the best 51-game record in NBA history. The win was their 10th in a row, each of which they led by at least 15 points.
The team improved to 24-0 at home this season with their 42nd consecutive victory at Oracle Arena. They are now just two home wins away from equalling the Chicago Bulls' NBA-record home winning streak of 44 games from March 30, 1995 to April 4, 1996.
Games where Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has scored 30 points or more.
Curry scored 26 of his 35 points in the first half, during which Golden State led by as many as 16. The reigning Most Valuable Player was pretty much out of bullets by the time the Rockets' best player James Harden shot his team into a 93-all tie at the end of the third quarter.
That was when Barnes, flanked by Bogut and three reserves, took charge.
First, he followed a three-pointer by super-sub swingman Andre Iguodala with a three-pointer of his own, pushing Golden State into a six-point lead and prompting a quick Houston time-out.
The score was 103-96 before Barnes nailed a fade-away, turned a drive into a three-point play and buried a jumper in a personal seven-point flurry that gave Golden State a 110-98 cushion to massage to the finish.
"Our bench carried us," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of a second unit that often includes Barnes, a starter. "The surge from the bench to start the fourth quarter gave us the separation we needed."
Barnes finished with 19 points, 17 of which came in the fourth quarter on 7-for-8 shooting. His fourth-quarter output matched that of the entire Rockets team.
Harden led all scorers with 37 points, 10 of which came in the decisive final period. However, he got little support in those final 12 minutes as his team-mates combined to go 3-for-14 and total just seven points.
Houston centre Dwight Howard recorded a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds. However, he stalled the Rockets at times by shooting 2-for-10 at the free-throw line, getting whistled for five fouls and committing four turnovers.
Bogut got a double-double of his own (13 points and 11 rebounds) while making six blocks and three steals in his head-to-head with Howard.
Even with key back-up Festus Ezeli missing his first game after knee surgery, the Warriors got a boost from the centre position, with Marreese Speights adding 15 points.
Golden State's third consecutive win over Houston this season allowed the Warriors to sweep the series for the second consecutive season, a franchise first.
"It's a competitive game against a really good team, an undefeated team at home," Harden said, finding a silver lining in the defeat.
"We just gave up a couple of mental lapses in the fourth quarter, and that was the game right there."