DENVER – Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each scored 31 points as the Golden State Warriors, propelled by an NBA-record, 51-point first quarter, regained the top spot in the Western Conference by routing the Denver Nuggets 142-111 on Tuesday night.
Golden State cruised to a fifth straight win to move a half-game in front of the Nuggets, who had their 12-game home winning streak snapped.
The showdown between the top two teams in the conference proved a little too big for the Nuggets, with Curry and Company putting on a shooting exhibition all night long. The clinic began early with the Warriors erupting for 51 points in the opening quarter, breaking the old mark of 50 held by several teams. The last time it happened was also against Denver when Phoenix scored 50 on Nov. 10, 1990.
Golden State shot a blistering 60 percent from the field, had 38 assists and hit 21 3-pointers in leading wire-to-wire. Kevin Durant finished with 27 points and Draymond Green was a plus-41 as he had 13 assists to go with four points.
Malik Beasley finished with 22 points for the Nuggets. Big man Nikola Jokic struggled with early foul trouble, finishing with 17 points and eight assists in 23 minutes.
76ers 149, Timberwolves 107
PHILADELPHIA – Joel Embiid had 31 points and 13 rebounds, and Philadelphia scored 83 points in the first half in a thrashing of Minnesota in Jimmy Butler’s first game against his former team.
The Golden State Warriors were the only team to score more first-half points in a game this season when they dropped 92 on the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 29. The Sixers hit a team-record 21 3-pointers and reached their highest point total in the 22-year history of the Wells Fargo Center.
Butler scored 19 points in the first meeting with Minnesota since it sent him to the 76ers in a package deal that brought forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric in return. Covington and Saric were popular core pieces of Philadelphia’s Trust the Process rebuild and both received massive ovations from an appreciative crowd in tribute videos.
Hawks 142, Thunder 126
ATLANTA – Trae Young had 24 points and 11 assists to win the showdown of past and former Atlanta point guards, leading the Hawks over Oklahoma City.
Former Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder scored 21 points in his return to Atlanta. Schroder struggled early but had 14 points in the third period when the Thunder outscored the Hawks 41-27 to reclaim the lead.
Atlanta was similarly dominant in the second period, outscoring Oklahoma City 45-30 to match its high mark for any quarter this season. After holding a big lead of 15 points, the last time at 70-55, the Hawks led 70-59 at halftime.
John Collins made 12 of 14 shots from the field and led Atlanta with 26 points. Alex Len had 24 points and 11 rebounds. The Hawks were 18 of 37 on 3-pointers.
Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 31 points and 11 assists. Paul George had 24 points and Jerami Grant added 21.
Bucks 124, Heat 86
MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in his fourth triple-double of the season, and Milwaukee cruised past Miami.
Eric Bledsoe had 17 points and Malcolm Brogdon added 16 for Milwaukee, which has won 13 of 16 dating to Dec. 14. The Bucks improved to 31-12, second-best in the NBA.
Justise Winslow and Hassan Whiteside had 19 points apiece for Miami, which fell to 21-21.
Pacers 131, Suns 97
INDIANAPOLIS – Bojan Bogdanovic scored 20 points in Indiana’s easy victory over Phoenix.
Myles Turner returned for the first time in four games to finish with 18 points and six rebounds. Turner was nursing a sore right shoulder over the last week.
Indiana got off to a hot start thanks to Bogdanovic, who scored the Pacers’ first 10 points. The Pacers doubled the Suns’ total in the first quarter, leading 38-19 at the end of the period.
Indiana limited Devin Booker to eight points in 26 minutes. Rookie Deandre Ayton finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. T.J. Warren led Phoenix with 18 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 16 points off the bench.
Lakers 107, Bulls 100
LOS ANGELES – Lonzo Ball scored 19 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 17 and Los Angeles won for just the fourth time since LeBron James’ groin injury, beating reeling Chicago.
Ball, who also had eight rebounds and six assists, scored 13 points during the second half as Los Angeles was able to break open what was a close game for the first 28 minutes. Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma scored 16 apiece.
The Lakers are 4-7 since James was injured in a Dec. 25 game at Golden State.
Jabari Parker scored 18 points and Lauri Markkanen added 17 for Chicago, which has dropped eight straight.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.