OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Two All-Stars down, the Splash Brothers took charge.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson showed some patience coach Steve Kerr appreciated. They made the perfect pass. They were efficient. They lit it up from all spots on the floor.
“Kind of back to who we are, moving the ball,” Curry proclaimed.
Curry found his stroke from way back and breezed past a 7-footer in the paint with authority, putting on a thrilling display with 33 points Friday to lead the Golden State Warriors over the Chicago Bulls 143-94 on a night Kevin Durant and Draymond Green were out.
Curry and Thompson came to play with their fellow All-Stars out. NBA Finals MVP Durant was sidelined the second time in three games with a sprained left ankle, while Green didn’t play for rest.
Two-time MVP Curry notched his seventh career 30-point half and 21st 20-point quarter, when he scored 26 in the second as the Warriors matched their biggest half of the season with a 74-53 lead at intermission.
Steph was feeling it, all right, following up a deep 3 in the second quarter with a high-step shuffle and chest pat before waving his hands in the air for the crowd to join the fun. And with Green’s muscle flexing absent on this night, Curry drove left and over 7-foot (213-cm) Robin Lopez for a layup late in the second and was fouled. On the floor beneath the basket, he flexed his biceps in celebration.
“I don’t get that opportunity,” Curry said of the flex to celebrate going over Lopez for an and-one. “I’ve done that plenty of times before. I was actually looking for Draymond wherever he was. He was back in the locker room. Hopefully he was watching it on TV.”
Curry shot 10-for-18 with four 3-pointers, while Thompson added 29 points on 12-of-17 shooting with five 3s. Big man Zaza Pachulia had a season-best 11 points and career-high six assists.
Rookie Jordan Bell made his first career start and had a quick one-handed slam — this after being inactive in four of the past five games. Omri Casspi also started for short-handed Golden State coming off a 108-91 loss at Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.
Celtics 118, Magic 103
In Boston, Kyrie Irving scored 17 of his 30 points in a blistering first half and the Celtics jumped to an early lead and coasted to a victory over Orlando.
One game after ending their streak of 16 consecutive victories, Boston scored 40 points in the first quarter and 73 by halftime — both season highs — to send the Magic to their seventh straight loss.
Aron Baynes finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Al Horford had 10 assists.
Jonathon Simmons had 14 points for Orlando.
Cavaliers 100, Hornets 99
In Cleveland, LeBron James had 27 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists, J.R. Smith made the tiebreaking free throw with 48 seconds left, and the hosts extended their winning streak to seven with a victory over Charlotte.
James had season highs in rebounds and assists in his 57th career triple-double. He’s 41-6 in the regular season against Charlotte and the Cavaliers have won 12 of 13, including eight straight against the Hornets.
Dwight Howard had 20 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte.
The Hornets are 1-8 on the road.
Pistons 99, Thunder 98
In Oklahoma City, Andre Drummond had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Detroit overcame a 15-point deficit to beat the Thunder.
Russell Westbrook had his sixth triple-double of the season for Oklahoma City with 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. He missed a long 3-point attempt on the final possession to finish 1 of 10 from 3-point range and 10 of 29 from the field.
Heat 109, Timberwolves 97
In Minneapolis, Wayne Ellington scored 21 points and made six 3-pointers off the bench, Goran Dragic added 20 points and Miami had a season-best performance from behind the arc to beat the Timberwolves.
Hawks 116, Knicks 104
In Atlanta, Dennis Schroder scored 26 points and the Hawks used a 30-point third quarter to snap a three-game losing streak and beat New York.
Kristaps Porzingis had 28 points, and Courtney Lee added 26 for the Knicks.
Pelicans 115, Suns 91
In Phoenix, Anthony Davis had 23 points and nine rebounds, DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points and 10 boards and New Orleans routed the Suns.
The Pelicans, coming off consecutive home victories over Oklahoma City and San Antonio, won their third straight with ease.
T.J. Warren had 18 points, and Tyler Ulis 17 for Phoenix.
Nuggets 104, Grizzlies 92
In Denver, Nikolo Jokic scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and had 13 rebounds and eight assists to help the Nuggets top Memphis.
JaMychal Green had 21 points for the Grizzlies in their seventh loss in a row. It’s the longest losing streak for Memphis since a seven-game skid from Nov. 1-11, 2009.
Pacers 107, Raptors 104
In Indianapolis, Victor Oladipo scored 21 points, Bojan Bogdonavic added 19 and the hosts edged Toronto.
Kyle Lowry scored 12 of his 24 points in the second quarter for the Raptors.
Trail Blazers 127, Nets 125
In New York, Damian Lillard scored 34 points, Jusuf Nurkic had 29 and Portland overcame a late six-point deficit to beat Brooklyn.
Spencer Dinwiddie had 23 for the Nets.