Stephen Curry scored 26 points and Draymond Green bagged a triple double as the Golden State Warriors bounced back from successive thrashings to down the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.
The reigning Western Conference champions, routed 120-92 by Oklahoma City on Sunday, rediscovered their scoring touch to claim a 134-123 win at the Smoothie King Center.
After toothless displays against Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers, the Warriors rediscovered their offense in a high-scoring first half. A 45-point second quarter saw them surge into a 72-55 lead at half-time, giving them a comfortable 17-point cushion.
Another big third quarter extended their lead to 24 points heading into the final period, and although the Pelicans closed the gap, the result was never seriously in question.
All five starters finished in double-digits for the Warriors, with Curry leading the scorers and contributing 11 assists. Green’s triple-double included 16 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists, while new recruit D’Angelo Russell finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Damion Lee added 23 points from the bench.
Afterwards Green said the Warriors had been determined to raise their game after the debacles against the Thunder and the Clippers.
“We’ve just been talking about competing at an NBA level,” Green said.
“First couple of nights we didn’t compete at a level of an NBA game. But the guys got fired up and came out and played with some energy and the result was different for us.”
‘Better and better’
With Kevin Durant joining the Brooklyn Nets this year and Klay Thompson injured and likely out for the season, Green said he felt dutybound to lead the Warriors youthful new-look squad.
“We’ll get better and better as we get more experience,” Green said. “Unfortunately that’s the one thing you can’t make up for but if we compete like we competed tonight, we can live with the results. If you don’t compete you just can’t live with that.
“I have to be [a leader]. The first two nights I wasn’t at all. My energy was worse than everybody’s elses. And if I want us to have a successful year and teach these guys how to be successful I have to bring that energy.”
In Houston, James Harden exploded for 40 points as the Rockets outgunned Oklahoma City 116-112.
Harden added three rebounds and seven assists while point guard Russell Westbrook narrowly missed out on a triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
The Philadelphia 76ers remain the only unbeaten team in the Eastern Conference after claiming their third win of the season on the road against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.
Fit-again Cameroon international Joel Embiid starred for the Sixers, leading with 36 points including two game-winning free throws with 5.3 seconds on the clock to seal a 105-103 win.
In Toronto, the NBA champion Raptors improved to 3-1 for the season with a 104-95 defeat of the Orlando Magic.
Kyle Lowry had 26 points and Pascal Siakam 24 points as the Raptors kept Orlando in check.
The San Antonio Spurs remain unbeaten in the Western Conference after notching a third win of the season against the Portland Trail Blazers.
DeMar DeRozan had 27 points for the Spurs, who edged a 113-110 victory over the visiting Blazers. Damian Lillard led the scoring with 28 points while teammate C.J. McCollum finished with 27.