LOS ANGELES, March 9, 2019 (AFP) - Klay Thompson roared back into action for Golden State on Friday, leading the Warriors to a 122-105 win over the Denver Nuggets in a marquee showdown between the two best teams in the NBA’s Western Conference.
The Warriors were looking to rebound from their worst loss of the season — a humiliating 128-95 drubbing at home on Tuesday by the Boston Celtics — and they got the job done.
Thompson, who had missed two games with a sore knee, delivered a game-high 39 points, scoring 27 of them in the first half. He drained nine three-pointers overall.
“I let the game come to me,” Thompson said. “I took two games off and it felt like eternity.
“It gets kind of sentimental knowing we have only so many games left in the season in this building and we want to give our fans a show.
“Everybody out there is a threat and that makes our team so dangerous.”
Kevin Durant added 26 points and six assists, Stephen Curry scored 17 points and DeMarcus Cousins finished with 13 points and six blocked shots for the two-time defending NBA champions.
“It is a long regular season and the guys are eager to get to the playoffs. At the end of the day, we’ve all got our eyes on that three-peat. Nothing can deter us from that,” said Thompson.
Malik Beasley scored 17 points off the bench for the Nuggets, who lost for the fourth time in five games following a five-game winning streak.
Elsewhere, James Harden racked up 31 points and 10 rebounds as the Houston Rockets stretched their winning streak to a season-best seven games by beating the Philadelphia 76ers, 107-91.
Houston dominated for much of the game, scoring 37 points in the first quarter and leading by 22 points at the end of the third quarter at the Toyota Center arena in Texas.
“Our pace and energy has been really good and it always helps to be healthy,” Houston guard Chris Paul said.
The 76ers cut the lead to 16 with five minutes remaining, but Harden scored his 30th point of the contest soon after.
With the Rockets in cruise control, coach Mike D’Antoni took several of his starters out of the game to give the reserves some playing time.
The Rockets got their revenge as Philadelphia had won the first meeting of the teams this season in January, 121-93, behind 32 points from center Joel Embiid.
But Embiid was out on Friday due to a knee injury.
Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris finished with 22 points and Ben Simmons played through the discomfort of a bad stomach to score 10 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds as the 76ers lost their second straight game.
The Rockets got a scare in the first half when Harden collided with Simmons and went crashing to the floor. He appeared to be in pain but got up and went to the dressing room.
After receiving treatment, he returned to help the Rockets to a 59-44 lead at the half.