Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors certainly looked ready to trade some more blows with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come June.
The two-time reigning MVP hit five 3-pointers and had 20 points while matching his season best with 11 assists in Golden State’s 126-91 rout of the defending champs on Monday in Oakland, California.
Klay Thompson scored 26 points with five 3s, and Curry made four steals. Draymond Green produced his third triple-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while matching his career best with five blocks – and had another dustup with King James in the process.
James had 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds, and he and Green became the talk once more as their relationship turned even more testy.
Kevin Durant added 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks for the Warriors in a much-hyped matchup merely weeks after Golden State lost 109-108 in Cleveland on Christmas.
L.A. Clippers 120, Oklahoma City 98: J.J. Redick scored 20 points, DeAndre Jordan had 19 points and 15 rebounds, and the streaking Clippers overcame Chris Paul’s injury to defeat the Thunder in Los Angeles.
The banged-up Clippers tied a franchise record for their best start to a calendar year at 7-0. The team began 1974 with the same mark when the club was located in Buffalo.
Los Angeles owns the NBA’s longest active winning streak despite being without injured star Blake Griffin. Paul sprained his left thumb in the second quarter of this one and didn’t return.
Still, the Clippers shot 55 percent and improved to 16-0 when hitting 50 percent or better. They were dominant in the paint, outscoring the Thunder 62-34.
Russell Westbrook scored 24 points on 7-of-19 shooting in three quarters for the Thunder, the last team to beat the Clippers, on New Year’s Eve, before the calendar turned and their winning streak began. He was the only starter in double figures for Oklahoma City.
Atlanta 108, New York 107: Dennis Schroder scored 28 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 22 seconds left, and the Hawks beat the Knicks in New York.
Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 points and Paul Millsap had 17 for the Hawks, who won for the ninth time in 10 games to reach the midpoint of their schedule at 24-17.
Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points for the Knicks, who changed their lineup but it wasn’t quite good enough. They lost for the 11th time in 13 games.
Neither team led by more than eight in the game that was close all the way. The Hawks rested Dwight Howard, while the Knicks were without Kristaps Porzingis again because of a sore left Achilles tendon.
Washington 120, Portland 101: Bradley Beal scored 25 points, John Wall had 24 and the Wizards rolled to their 12th consecutive home victory with a win over the Trail Blazers.
The Wizards, who rely less on the 3-pointer than almost any NBA team, were 13 of 23 from beyond the arc. The 3-pointer-heavy Trail Blazers shot 8 of 26 on 3-point attempts.
Damian Lillard led Portland with 22 points and C.J. McCollum had 12, but they combined to shoot 11 of 29 from the floor.
The Wizards have won four of their last five games.
Philadelphia 113, Milwaukee 104: Joel Embiid scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, and the 76ers beat teh Bucks in Milwaukee to win for the fourth time in five games.
The Sixers improved to 13-26. Their only recent loss was Saturday at Washington, when Embiid didn’t play. Embiid is limited to 28 minutes per game while trying to overcome injuries that have slowed his career.
Embiid also had 12 rebounds. Dario Saric scored 17 points for Philadelphia, and Ersan Ilyasova had 12 on 4-for-14 shooting.
Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo each scored 23 points for Milwaukee, which led 54-46 at halftime.
Boston 108, Charlotte 98: Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Celtics beat the Hornets in Boston for their ninth victory in 11games.
It was Thomas’ 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He’s been putting up big final quarters of late – scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday.
Al Horford had 22 points, while Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder added 15 apiece for Boston, which has won all three meetings with Charlotte this season.
Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Marvin Williams 21 for the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight – all on the road.
Thomas scored 13 straight points, pushing Boston ahead 93-83 with his 3-pointer from the left wing with 7 1/2 minutes left.
Boston led 80-71 entering the final period.
Indiana 98, New Orleans 95: Jeff Teague had 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, helping the Pacers to a win over the Pelicans in Indianapolis, thier fifth victory in six games.
The Pacers shot 50.6 percent from the floor and had five players score in double figures. Paul George had 19 points, and Myles Turner added 18 points and 12 boards.
All-Star center Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 16 points despite missing the final 19 minutes after hurting his right hip and left thumb. Team officials said X-rays were negative.
Denver 125, Orlando 112: Nikola Jokic scored a career-high 30 points, Emmanuel Mudiay dished out a career-best 13 assists and the Nuggets followed their “home” win in London with another victory over the Magic at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Jokic also grabbed 11 rebounds and Kenneth Faried scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who certainly packed their surging offense with them when they returned home from London. They routed Indiana 140-112 last Thursday in England and remained on that sort of shooting streak, hitting a season-high 58.4 percent from the floor. They also had 33 assists.
Elfrid Payton had 20 points and 12 assists as the Magic fell to 1-4 on their current six-game trip.
Utah 106, Phoenix 101: Joe Johnson scored 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 49.8 seconds to play, and the Jazz made it seven in a row over the Suns with a win against in Phoenix.
The Jazz scored the final seven points after T.J. Warren’s steal and breakaway dunk put Phoenix ahead 101-99 with 1:13 left.
Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 17 rebounds for Utah. Gordon Hayward and George Hill scored 17 apiece.
Suns guard Eric Bledsoe had 31 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, falling just short of his third career triple-double. Devin Booker, coming off consecutive 39-point games in Mexico City, added 25 for Phoenix.
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