Monta Ellis had 33 points, seven assists and five rebounds as the Warriors held off the Houston Rockets 106-97 at Oracle Arena on Sunday.
Golden State has won five of its past eight games. Four of those were against winning teams. The Warriors (10-14) head into Monday night's game against Phoenix looking for their first three-game win streak of the season and get closer to their goal of reaching .500 before the All-Star break.
"We're just having each others' back," Ellis said. "Scrapping. Intensity. We're ready to turn this thing around. Right now is a great opportunity."
Ellis took a back seat in Thursday's win over Denver as point guard Stephen Curry dominated with 36 points. But Sunday, it was Ellis' turn. He scored 19 points in the second half, including a timely 3-pointer midway through the third quarter that quelled a Rockets spurt.
Curry added 14 points.
Golden State shot 50.6 percent from the field against the Rockets.
"They're a heck of a tandem," coach Mark Jackson said of Ellis and Curry, who combined for 12 assists and four turnovers. "And what they're doing right now is playing off one another. They're realizing who has the hot hand. At all times they've been unselfish. From day one those guys looked to make plays for the other, almost too much. They're a talented tandem and when they're clicking they're as good as it gets in this league."
The Warriors, though, won Sunday because of their defense. Houston came into the game ranked sixth in scoring (98.1 points per game) and 10th in field goal percentage (45.3). That didn't figure to bode well for Golden State, which came in 29th in points per game allowed (100.9).
Instead, the Warriors held the Rockets to 41.3 percent shooting and below their season average. Golden State also forced 19 turnovers.
Houston guard Kevin Martin -- who hadn't scored in double figures in four games -- finished with 28 points, but he missed 9 of 16 shots and turned the ball over four times. Point guard Kyle Lowry, a sleeper for the West All-Star team after his hot start, scored 10 points on 10 shots.
The Warriors entered the fourth quarter up 76-74, then turned up a defensive intensity to pull away. Golden State opened the quarter with a 17-5 run, during which it held Houston to 2-for-8 shooting and forced two turnovers.
Rookie swingman Klay Thompson knocked down two 3-pointers during the run and forward David Lee capped it with a three-point play.
Houston never got closer than six the rest of the way.
"Our guys did a great job of battling, competing and then regrouping once things were not going our way," Jackson said. "Just a great job of bouncing back against a team that has been playing well."
"The good news is that if he continues to play like he's playing and continues to work hard," Jackson said, "he's going to be in the big show."
Thompson has totaled 33 points on 61.9 percent shooting his past two games. Over his past four games, he is 12 for 16 from 3-point range.
"I've felt good these last couple games," he said. "I'm getting there."
Thompson did more than spot up Sunday, as his three assists and four rebounds suggest. His teammates said it's a sign of his increased comfort level.
"I watched him during a workout before the draft, and he was by far the best player," Jackson said. "The thing I love about him is nothing bothers him. It's absolutely funny. He doesn't care. He's a great shooter, but he's a big time competitor. Underrated defender and it's scary to think just how good he's going to be."
Golden State entered the game ranked fourth in the league in 3-point field goal percentage and sixth in 3-pointers attempted per game (20.9).
"We have shooters that can knock down the long ball," Jackson said. "I don't go into the game thinking 'OK, let's get X amount of shots from three.' What I do is realize if they are good or bad ones and I think our guys are taking good ones. ... I'm a guy who fully understands the weapon that it can be and I like the way we've used it."
Jackson said he encourages his players to take open 3-pointers. And he doesn't mind a good look no matter how it's created -- via good ball movement, off drive-and-kicks, from inside-outside action.
"It's not like we don't have guys who are not used to hitting them," Lee said. "The most important thing is we're not settling for contested ones. We are taking wide-open shots and I trust those guys to hit those."
Swingman Brandon Rush was 2 for 3 from 3-point range Sunday. He is up to 56.3 percent for the season. Thompson is now up to 49.3 percent from deep.
Curry, who was 3 of 6 from beyond the arc Sunday, is up to 43.7 percent on the season.
McGuire, who also sat out practice Saturday, said he's hoping to play Monday against the Suns.