NBA: Rockets thrash 'banged up' Warriors; Nuggets bounce back

November 16, 2018
James Harden
James Harden

LOS ANGELES -- The Houston Rockets humbled the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors 107-86 on Thursday in a rematch of last season's Western Conference finals.

The Rockets took full advantage of the absence of Warriors sharpshooter Stephen Curry, who missed his fourth straight game with a groin injury.

They posted their sixth victory in eight games after a 1-5 start and climbed to .500 at 7-7 in the still young season.

Draymond Green returned for the Warriors after serving a one-game suspension meted out by Golden State after his confrontation with teammate Kevin Durant.

The Rockets coped with their own upheaval as shortly before the game general manager Daryl Morey confirmed they parting ways with 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, who had played in just 10 games since arriving as a free agent prior to the season.

Whether Curry's absence or continuing tension between teammates played a role, the Warriors endured a horrendous shooting night, connecting on 42.1 percent of their shots from the field and just 22.2 percent from three-point range.

Not a single Warriors starter made a three-pointer -- a first since March of 2013.

The Rockets, up 47-41 at halftime, pulled away relentlessly -- putting the game out of reach with a 21-2 scoring run to open the fourth quarter.

“We're banged up a little physically and we're banged up spiritually -- there's no getting around that,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

Green, Durant and Klay Thompson combined to shoot 0-for-9 from beyond the arc while neither Andre Iguodala nor Damian Jones attempted a three-pointer.

Durant led the Warriors with 20 points and Thompson added 10 -- not enough as Iguodala and Jones combined for 10.

James Harden led Houston with 27 points. James Ennis added 10 while Chris Paul and Clint Capela chipped in 10 apiece, Paul adding five rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocked shots.

In Denver, the Nuggets halted a four-game skid in decisive style, routing the Atlanta Hawks 138-93.

Juancho Hernangomez scored a season-high 25 points and Paul Millsap and Gary Harris scored 18 each as seven Denver players scored in double figures.

It was a welcome return to form for a Nuggets team that was off to its best start in four decades before hitting the skids with four straight defeats.

“We needed the win," said Hernangomez after the Nuggets' most lopsided victory of the season.