OAKLAND -- This time at Oracle Arena, it was the Warriors who made plays in the clutch.
Leave it to wily veteran Jermaine O'Neal to deliver the biggest moment, meeting young Chandler Parsons at the rim to block the potential go-ahead dunk and help preserve the Warriors' 102-99 overtime win against Houston on Thursday night.
The 35-year-old O'Neal's defense helped limit Rockets center Dwight Howard to 11 points on 4-for-13, and it was his help defense in blocking Parsons that saved the day.
"Dwight is an animal down there, a force," Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. "But JO is as well. JO was up for the challenge. He made it known before the game he was ready for it.
"It was huge to see that youth come out."
Curry provided the shot that sent the game into overtime, scoring on a driving layup with 3.2 seconds left that hung on the rim before falling to tie the score at 89. The shot answered James Harden's, a step-back jump shot with 6.9 seconds left that put the Rockets ahead 89-87.
The Warriors, who in their previous home game could only watch as LeBron James devastated them with a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer, avoided that fate again as Harden missed from long range as time expired in regulation.
Harden scored a game-high 39 points, but ended up overshadowed by Curry's 25 points and a turn-back-the-clock moment from O'Neal that helped stop the Rockets' winning streak at eight games. Playing with a surgically repaired right wrist and in the lineup in place of an injured Andrew Bogut, O'Neal denied Parsons cutting in for a dunk attempt off a pinpoint pass from Harden with 23.8 seconds left in overtime and the Warriors leading 96-95.
"Guys are giving what they have," said O'Neal, who played a season-high 37 minutes. "That's going to be our motto these next 27 games."
Curry hit two free throws on the other end, and Golden State later sealed the win once Klay Thompson stole a pass with 4.9 seconds left and two Draymond Green free throws pushed the lead to five.
David Lee led the Warriors with 28 points and 14 rebounds, notching his fourth consecutive double-double since returning to the lineup and helped the Warriors win their second straight since the All-Star break.
O'Neal, an 18-year veteran in his second straight start in place of Bogut, limited the All-Star Howard to three points on 1-for-7 shooting before halftime. The Rockets shot 36.6 percent from the field overall.
At one point in the third quarter, Howard could only smile after O'Neal took a charge. On the other end of the court, Lee scored to give the Warriors their largest lead of 11 points.
"When you take the commitment to defend night in and night out, even against a team that creates a lot of challenges, you give yourself a chance," coach Mark Jackson said. "A chance to win. This was all about our defense."
The backcourt got a boost from new addition Steve Blake, the Warriors' lone acquisition at the NBA's trading deadline. Blake finished with three points, with his first shot attempt as a Warrior going in for a 3-pointer with three seconds left in the first quarter.
"I'm going to go out there and do whatever it takes to win," Blake said before the game.
Jordan Crawford was the first point guard off the bench for the Warriors, and he soon found himself playing alongside Blake and being freed up as the shooting guard. In the third, Blake spent minutes as the shooting guard alongside Curry.
-- Kobe Bryant tweeted high praise of his former teammate Blake, who said the two shared "a great friendship" during their time with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"Not cool with @SteveBlake5 being gone AT ALL," Bryant wrote. "One of my closest teammates and psycho competitor GS picked up gem #smartmove."
Bryant's endorsement of Blake did not go unnoticed.
"I think the standard of Kobe's psycho competitor, I don't think he says anybody other than probably Michael (Jordan), so heck of a compliment," Jackson said.
-- Guard Nemanja Nedovic said he hoped to resume practicing next week after dealing with a stress reaction in his right toe and a left hamstring strain that have sidelined him for more than a month.
Brooklyn (25-27) at Warriors (33-22), 7:30 p.m. CSNBA
Thompson: Warriors' six-man core is built
for playoffs, and deserves chance to live up to
expectations before being broken up. PAGE 2