Rockets ride ferry to victory at Golden State
OAKLAND: Luis Scola scored 15 of his 21 points in the third quarter and grabbed 11 rebounds, Aaron Brooks had 18 points and 12 assists, and the Houston Rockets held off Golden State and spoiled the Warriors' season opener with a 108-107 victory Wednesday night.
Anthony Morrow missed a would-be tying 3-pointer under pressure in the waning seconds and Stephen Curry's putback at the buzzer left the Warriors a point short.
Trevor Ariza scored 14 of his 25 points in the first quarter and Houston beat the Warriors for the seventh straight time, rebounding from a season-opening loss a night earlier at Portland with a strong outing despite a strange travel day.
The Rockets took a ferry from San Francisco, where they stayed across the bay, to Oakland. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is temporarily closed down for emergency repairs after a cable on the bridge's upper deck snapped Tuesday.
Curry had an impressive NBA debut for the Warriors, getting 14 points, seven assists and four steals. Monta Ellis scored 26 points and disgruntled swingman Stephen Jackson 17.
Brooks was called for traveling with 6.6 seconds left, giving the Warriors a final chance.
Curry already had three steals and three assists in the opening 7 1/2 minutes. Coach Don Nelson decided last week to start the exciting rookie guard, a former Davidson star chosen seventh overall by the Warriors in this year's draft.
Curry hit a 17-foot jumper with 6:31 to play to get Golden State within 99-95. Ronny Turiaf missed two free throws the next time down and Ariza knocked down a 3 moments later.
At the end of the third, his team trailing 87-81, Jackson went to the end of the bench and sat alone while Nelson addressed the team in a huddle. Jackson was waving for the ball on the right wing as Corey Maggette drove to the hoop for a score in the waning seconds. He didn't come out to start the fourth quarter and pulled on his warmup shirt. He could be seen gesturing on the bench.
Jackson, the Warriors' returning leading scorer who publicly asked for a trade in August and was later fined by the NBA for the remarks, was regularly booed and also received some cheers when things went well.
Starting with back-to-back road games is just the beginning of a tough stretch for the injury-depleted Rockets. Houston now hosts Portland on Saturday, plays at Utah, returns home again to face the Lakers and Oklahoma City, then gets a four-day break before a game at Dallas on Nov. 10.
"We're going to have our share of exposure the first five games," coach Rick Adelman said.
The Rockets are without Yao Ming for the year following offseason foot surgery and Tracy McGrady, who had microfracture surgery on his left knee, isn't expected to return until midseason.
Jackson was announced first among the Warriors starters and casually strolled to midcourt. Jackson, who received a three-year contract extension worth roughly $28 million last November, asked to relinquish his captain title earlier this month and in doing so relinquished his "Captain Jack" nickname.
Nelson dismissed a report the Warriors might be close to pulling off a trade for Jackson.
"I haven't heard that. I speak to (GM) Larry (Riley) every day," Nelson said. "This is the first I've heard of that. It would surprise me if that's true."
Curry's much-anticipated debut was hyped to a near-Chris Webber level. Webber, fresh off his days as part of Michigan's Fab Five, was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1993 and dealt from Orlando to Golden State in a draft-day trade. He went on to win NBA Rookie of the Year honors.
Curry had a steal on the Rockets' first possession but immediately missed a 3 on the other end. He was 1 for 6 in the first half and got swatted as he went up for a layup in the closing minutes of the second quarter.
Notes: Rockets rookie Chase Budinger added 11 points with three 3s off the bench. ... In brief pregame presentation, Riley gave Morrow a plaque for leading the league in 3-point shooting percentage last season as a rookie at 46.7 percent (86 for 184). ... Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell sat courtside. ... The Warriors drew a sellout crowd of 19,596.