Just 24 hours after suffering rare blowout, the short-handed Golden State Warriors changed their game plan and results.
Klay Thompson fired in six triples en route to 38 points, while Draymond Green picked up his league-leading fifth triple-double of the season Thursday, carrying the defending NBA Champions - minus injured Stephen Curry - to a 114-110 road victory over the Houston Rockets.
The Warriors took it on the chin in Wednesday’s embarrassing 114-91 blowout to the host Dallas Mavericks, as Curry missed the contest to nurse a lower left leg bruise.
The reigning league MVP was out again but the resilient Warriors rebounded to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time this season.
“We’re the NBA defending champions,” Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton explained. “You lose by 25-30 points or whatever it was and you expect a much stronger performance out of all our guys the next night. That was a championship effort for the guys who were able to play.
Green had 10 points 11 rebounds and a career-best 16 assists, while Andre Iguodala threw in a season-high 20 points for the Warriors (30-2) playing without Curry, starting forward Harrison Barnes, along with key reserves Festus Ezeli and Leandro Barbosa.
“We’re down four guys and about 60 points but other guys stepped up,” Green said. “Everybody was big. That’s what it’s about.”
Without Curry and his league-best 30 points per game, the Warriors slowed down their normally up-tempo style and it paid off.
“We didn’t try to play the same ballgame that we do when Steph is playing,” Green explained. “When he’s out there he makes the game so much easier for everyone by pushing the ball.
“Tonight, we slowed it down, really focused on the defensive end and offensive execution. We really used each other.”
Golden State trailed 80-78 with two minutes left in the third quarter before going on a 12-2 period-ending run behind triples from Iguodala and Thompson to go ahead 90-82.
The Warriors opened up a 99-87 cushion with just under 10 minutes left but the Rockets weren’t done. A 15-6 run capped off by a James Harden jumper pulled the hosts to within 105-102 with 4:53 remaining.
Golden State responded, though. Iguodala soared in for a fast-break layup and fed Andrew Bogut for an alley-oop dunk to ignite an 8-0. Thompson knocked down his final two baskets and the Warriors had their seventh straight win in the series.
“Last night was embarrassing,” Thompson said. “We made the adjustments and it was like night and day.”
Harden had 30 points to pace Houston (16-18) while Dwight Howard finished with 21 and 13 rebounds.
“We’re just inconsistent. We played a pretty good game up until the end of the third quarter when they went on that run,” Harden said. “Just give up small buckets like that to a really good team is something you couldn’t really do.”
•Detroit Pistons 115, Minnesota Timberwolves 90: Andre Drummond had 23 points with 18 rebounds, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope netted 12 of his 22 in a decisive 37-20 fourth quarter, and the Pistons (18-13) stopped a three-game slide after beating the T-Wolves. Karl-Anthony Towns topped Minnesota (12-21) with 22 points while Andrew Wiggins added 21.
• Milwaukee Bucks 120, Indiana Pacers 116: Khris Middleton scored 33 points, including a pair of game-sealing free throws with six seconds left, and the visiting Bucks (13-21) beat the Pacers to snap a three-game slide. Paul George netted 31 points to pace sloppy Indiana (18-14) which turned the ball over 20 times, leading to 35 Bucks points.
• LA Clippers 95, New Orleans Pelicans 89: JJ Redick scored 26 points while Chris Paul shook off a nightmarish 3-of-18 shooting performance, with a jumper and three free throws in the final minute, as the surging Clippers (21-13) ran their winning streak to five - all on the road - after holding off the Pelicans. Ryan Anderson topped New Orleans (10-22) with 17 points and Anthony Davis had 14 with 15 rebounds.
• Oklahoma City Thunder 110, Phoenix Suns 106: Russell Westbrook had 36 points with 12 assists, Kevin Durant dropped in 23, including the go-ahead jumper and dunk in the final minute, and the host Thunder (23-10) dealt the struggling Suns a seventh straight loss. TJ Warren led six Suns (12-23) in double figures with 29 points and PJ Tucker added 22.
• Utah Jazz 109, Portland Trail Blazers 96: Trey Burke came off the bench to score season-best 27 points, Gordon Hayward had 23 with 10 rebounds, and the Jazz (14-17) drummed the visiting Trail Blazers (14-21) despite CJ McCollum’s game-high 32 points.
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