Klay Thompson roared back into action for Golden State on Friday, leading the Warriors to a 122-105 win over the Denver Nuggets in a marquee showdown between the two best teams in the NBA’s Western Conference.
The Warriors were looking to rebound from their worst loss of the season – a humiliating 128-95 drubbing at home on Tuesday by the Boston Celtics – and they got the job done.
Thompson, who had missed two games with a sore knee, delivered a game-high 39 points, scoring 27 of them in the first half. He drained nine three-pointers overall.
“I let the game come to me,” Thompson said. “I took two games off and it felt like eternity.
“It gets kind of sentimental knowing we have only so many games left in the season in this building and we want to give our fans a show.
“Everybody out there is a threat and that makes our team so dangerous.”
Kevin Durant added 26 points and six assists, Stephen Curry scored 17 points and DeMarcus Cousins finished with 13 points and six blocked shots for the two-time defending NBA champions.
“It is a long regular season and the guys are eager to get to the playoffs. At the end of the day, we’ve all got our eyes on that three-peat. Nothing can deter us from that,” said Thompson.
Malik Beasley scored 17 points off the bench for the Nuggets, who lost for the fourth time in five games following a five-game winning streak.
Elsewhere, James Harden racked up 31 points and 10 rebounds as the Houston Rockets stretched their winning streak to a season-best seven games by beating the Philadelphia 76ers, 107-91.
Houston dominated for much of the game, scoring 37 points in the first quarter and leading by 22 points at the end of the third quarter at the Toyota Center arena in Texas.
“Our pace and energy has been really good and it always helps to be healthy,” Houston guard Chris Paul said.
The 76ers cut the lead to 16 with five minutes remaining, but Harden scored his 30th point of the contest soon after, and it was game over.
Philadelphia had won the first meeting of the teams this season in January, 121-93, behind 32 points from Joel Embiid, but their star center was out Friday due to a knee injury.
Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris finished with 22 points as the 76ers lost their second straight game.
The Rockets got a scare in the first half when Harden collided with Simmons and went crashing to the floor.
After receiving treatment, he returned to help the Rockets to a 59-44 lead at the half.
- Raptors strike late -
In Louisiana, Raptors star Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points and Kyle Lowry had a triple double with 13 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds as Toronto used a second-half surge to rout the New Orleans Pelicans, 127-104.
Pascal Siakam scored 19 points and Jeremy Lin had 14 in the win.
The Pelicans played without three starters as Jrue Holiday (abdominal strain), E’Twaun Moore (quad contusion) and Anthony Davis (sore back) were ruled out.
Jahlil Okafor started in Davis’ place, but he also left the contest in the third quarter because of a sprained ankle.
Rookie Frank Jackson led the Pelicans with 20 points, Julius Randle added 18 points and Cheick Diallo added 16 points off the bench.
In Florida, veteran guard Dwyane Wade sparked a third-quarter rally and the Miami Heat scored 10 straight in the final quarter to pull out a 126-110 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
And in Los Angeles, Lou Williams came off the bench to score 40 points as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 118-110, for their seventh game in nine games.
Danilo Gallinari scored a season-high 34 points and Ivica Zubac added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Clippers.
Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook had 32 points before fouling out with 54 seconds left and Paul George scored 15 points before he fouled out with 3:49 left.
After the game, George griped about the officials.
“We haven’t gotten a fair whistle all year. We are getting grabbed, clawed, scratched, held,” he said.
“The officials just get to walk out. There’s nothing that penalizes them for not officiating the right way.”