NBA: Warriors ward off Rockets for elusive first road win of season
Klay Thompson scored a season-high 41 points, Stephen Curry posted a season-best 15 assists, and the Golden State Warriors recorded their first road victory of the season with a hard-fought 127-120 decision over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
After blowing a 20-point first-quarter lead, the Warriors had to battle tooth and nail to ward off the Rockets. Curry and Thompson were up to the task, teaming for a 3-pointer prior to the close to the third quarter that provided the Warriors a 97-94 lead entering the final period.
In the fourth, Thompson drilled three 3-pointers including one with 66 seconds left that answered two free throws by Rockets rookie Jabari Smith Jr. and extended the Warriors to a 123-117 lead.
Curry assisted on the Thompson 3-pointer to close the third and the 3-pointer that pushed the lead to six. He followed with a 3-pointer with 34.2 seconds left that levied the knockout blow. Curry added 33 points and seven rebounds. He and Thompson were a combined 17 of 27 from deep.
Andrew Wiggins added 22 points for the Warriors, who shot 53.5 percent and were 24 of 47 on 3-pointers.
“Well, long overdue,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “but we’re happy to get the win.”
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The Rockets gave a spirited effort, led by Kevin Porter Jr. (30 points, six assists) and Smith, who scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Fellow rookie Tari Eason added a career-high 19 points with eight rebounds and three steals. KJ Martin scored 12 off the bench.
It was a scorching start for the Warriors and Thompson in particular. Golden State led by as many as 18 points in the first quarter behind Thompson, who hit his first six shots before missing a 3. Thompson was up to 18 points at that juncture and had 20 of the Warriors’ 40 points in the period as Golden State shot 69.6 percent while making 6 of 9 shots from behind the arc.
However, Houston whittled that 18-point deficit to 40-28 entering the second and went on an extended 18-2 run behind its bench, most notably Martin and Eason. Martin capped the surge with a dunk at the 9:25 mark that listed the Rockets to a 41-40 lead, and Houston extended that margin to 61-52 on a pair of Green free throws to complete the 29-point, first-half turnaround.
Curry responded with a 3-pointer, an assist on a Thompson 3-pointer and two free throws as the Warriors shaved the deficit to 65-61 at the break. Eason, Martin and Smith totaled 35 points in the half.