Stephen Curry cooled off but that didn’t stop the NBA champion Golden State Warriors from reeling off their seventh straight win to open the season, a 103-94 triumph over the Kings in Sacramento on Saturday.
Curry came into the contest riding a wave of four straight games of 30 points or more but settled for 24 in his worst shooting night of the fledgling season.
The reigning Most Valuable Player missed his first eight shots from three-point range, but his first three-pointer proved key, putting the Warriors ahead 81-79 with 5:43 to play.
He finished by connecting on eight of 18 attempts from the floor, two of 10 from three-point range — his 80th straight game with at least one three-pointer, the third-longest such streak in NBA history.
Curry wasn’t the only Golden State player struggling from long range as the Warriors missed 16 of their first 17 shots from beyond the arc.
But they benefitted from 21 Kings turnovers that led to 29 Warriors points as Sacramento again felt the absence of All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, who missed his fourth game with a strained right Achilles tendon.
Despite their shooting woes the Warriors held off two second-half Kings rallies.
Forward Marco Belinelli’s three-pointer with 6:48 left in the third quarter capped a 23-7 scoring run that put the Kings up 55-53.
But Warriors guard Klay Thompson responded with a three-pointer to start a run of 14 straight Golden State points.
The Kings came back again, with forward Omri Casspi draining two three-pointers and Belinelli adding another as the Kings out-scored the Warriors 24-11 over the next seven minutes. A jump shot from Rajon Rondo put Sacramento up 79-78 with 6:37 to play.
Rondo finished with a triple-double of 14 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds, but Curry’s three-pointer with 5:43 left gave the Warriors a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
– Harden boosts Rockets –
James Harden scored a season-high 46 points to lift the Houston Rockets to a 109-105 come-from-behind victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles.
Harden, who broke out of his early season slump with 43 points in a 116-110 victory at Sacramento on Friday, connected on five of 10 three-point attempts and made 13 of 14 free-throws as the Rockets won their fourth straight.
The Clippers, playing without point guard Chris Paul, who was sidelined by a groin strain, lost at home for the first time this season.
– Timberwolves outlast Bulls –
Minnesota guard Andrew Wiggins scored a season-high 31 points and the Timberwolves held Chicago scoreless in overtime in a 102-93 victory over the Bulls.
In a contest that featured 15 ties and 18 lead changes, the Timberwolves out-scored the Bulls 9-0 in overtime — Chicago failing to connect on all nine attempts from the floor in the extra session.
It was the first time in the 50-year history of the franchise that the Bulls were held scoreless in overtime.
“I do not remember an overtime where a team didn’t score,” said Spanish big man Pau Gasol, who led the Bulls with 21 points and 14 rebounds.
“We have to give them credit. They just played well, they went after it, and they wanted it more than we did.”
– Still searching –
The league’s last three winless teams — the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and New Orleans Pelicans — all saw their season-opening skids continue.
The Milwaukee Bucks downed Brooklyn 94-86 to drop the Nets to 0-7. The injury-hit Pelicans fell to 0-6 with a 107-98 loss to the Dallas Mavericks and the Orlando Magic beat Philadelphia 105-97 as the 76ers fell to 0-6. – Agence France-Presse