OAKLAND, USA – A day after the feud between two of their All-Stars, the Golden State Warriors kept their focus to roll to a 110-103 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in NBA action on Tuesday, November 13 (Wednesday, November 14, Manila time).
Kevin Durant – who feuded with Draymond Green a night earlier during the Warriors’ 121-116 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers – powered the defending champions with 29 points, including a key fadeaway jumper with less than a minute left that helped put the game away.
The Warriors pulled off their 12th victory in 15 games even minus the suspended Green and injured superstar Steph Curry.
That Durant-Green spat prompted Warriors management to take the unusual step of imposing a one-game suspension on Green for “conduct detrimental to the team.” (READ: Green benched by Warriors after Durant spat)
Klay Thompson also fired 24 points for the Warriors, who set aside their off-court discord and played well enough without Curry (groin strain) for the third straight game.
Backup guard Quinn Cook continued to deliver for the Warriors with 18 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds and Jonas Jerebko – who subbed for Green – got to start and hauled down a career-high 13 rebounds to go with 14 points.
Taurean Prince had 22 points and Kent Bazemore had 18 to pace the Hawks, who dropped to 3-11.
The Warriors looked to be suffering a hangover from the row in the early stages against Atlanta, trailing 52-49 at halftime against the Hawks, who are 3-10.
The Warriors raised their game in the second half however, taking charge after outscoring the Hawks by 33-24 in the 3rd quarter before closing out the win.
Rockets finding ‘swagger’
In Denver, James Harden had 22 points and 11 assists as the misfiring Houston Rockets knocked off the Nuggets in a 109-99 victory.
The Rockets, who have been slow to start this season with only 6 wins against 7 defeats, relied on a strong all-round offensive display to polish off Denver, third in the Western Conference on 9-5.
Six Houston players cracked double figures with Clint Capela leading the scoring with 24 points and nine rebounds.
Chris Paul had 21 points while James Ennis III finished with 16.
Denver’s scoring was led by Monte Morris, who had 19 off the bench while Nikola Jokic had 14.
Harden said the Rockets were slowly rediscovering their “swagger” after a sluggish start to the campaign.
“It’s going to take time but we’re getting there,” Harden told reporters. “If we keep defending at a high level like we’ve been doing, then the offense is going to come around.
“The games that we lost, we guarded really well, we just didn’t make shots. Once we put both of those things together we’re going to be pretty scary. Tonight was a complete game.”
Cleveland nails second win
In Cleveland, meanwhile, the struggling Cavaliers bagged only their second win of the season with a 113-89 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
Jordan Clarkson led the scoring for the Cavs while Tristan Thompson had 11 points and 21 rebounds to give last year’s NBA Finals runners-up a much-needed morale boost.
Cavs coach Larry Drew, who replaced sacked predecessor Tyronn Lue last month after the team’s calamitous 0-6 start, expressed relief after claimin the win.
“We’ve been working hard for the past few weeks but we’ve been coming away empty-handed,” Drew said. “Tonight we were able to sustain from start to finish. All the hard work that the guys have been putting in, tonight’s win kind of pays that off.
“We’ve been playing well, we just haven’t been able to finish them out. It feels good getting that monkey off your back with the losing streak.” – Rappler.com