Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr can’t figure out how his team is still undefeated.
After a 98-87 victory over the depleted Houston Rockets on Saturday night gave the Warriors their first 5-0 start in 20 years, Kerr laughed about his club’s 26 turnovers.
“We were making plays that would make a sixth-grader blush,” the first-year rookie coach said. “It’s shocking to me that we have so much talent, and if they would just make the easier play, then the game would be simpler and we’d be in great shape.”
When asked how the Warriors were able to overcome an eight-point half-time deficit and outscore the Rockets 50-31 in the second half, Kerr simply said, “We have this guy named Steph Curry. He’s pretty good.”
Curry had 34 points and 10 rebounds in a matchup of undefeated teams, scoring 23 in a pivotal second half that was highlighted by a 22-4 run over the opening 7 minutes of the third quarter.
“At half-time, it felt like a funeral in here,” Curry said. “Guys were down and we couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t establish a rhythm.”
Curry shot 6-for-9 from three-point range and finished with five assists and four steals.
The only unbeaten team in the NBA, the Warriors improved to 5-0 for the first time since the 1994/95 season, when Golden State finished 26-56 under coach Don Nelson.
Houston played without centre Dwight Howard (flu-like symptoms) and power forward Terrence Jones (bruised right leg), which made things much easier for the Warriors inside.
They outscored the Rockets 56-32 in the paint, and Warriors centre Andrew Bogut dominated the glass in Howard’s absence, pulling down 18 rebounds.
James Harden led the Rockets (6-1) with 22 points, and point guard Isaiah Canaan had 21 in place of Patrick Beverley (hamstring).
“We were stagnant. We didn’t move,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “We had too many turnovers, and we just ran out of gas.”
Playing without their two starting big men, the Rockets attempted an NBA season-high 42 three-pointers, making just 10, for their worst shooting performance (23.8 per cent) of the young season. They entered the game leading the NBA at 43.1 per cent from beyond the arc but struggled mightily to knock down open shots.
“We missed shots, we had opportunities, and we didn’t attack the paint like we wanted to,” Harden said.
Golden State fell behind early as Klay Thompson played only 10 minutes in the first half after picking up his third foul early in the second quarter. Thompson finished with 11 points in a rough 3-for-16 shooting performance.
Donatas Motiejunas hit a three-pointer at the first-half buzzer to give the Rockets a 56-48 lead.
The Warriors quickly erased the deficit in the third quarter as Houston went 1-of-12 on three-pointers. The Rockets entered the fourth quarter trailing for the first time this season and were unable to mount a comeback.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Pelicans 100 (3-2), Spurs 99 (2-3)
Anthony Davis scored the game-winning basket and finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds to help New Orleans hold off San Antonio.
The Spurs went on a 15-4 run with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan on the bench to take a 99-98 lead. Danny Green capped the run with three free throws with 12 seconds remaining after he was fouled by Eric Gordon on a wild three-point attempt as the shot clock was about to expire.
Davis then drove past Aron Baynes for a layup with 6.6 seconds left. Kawhi Leonard missed a pair of shots in the final seconds, snapping the Spurs’ five-game winning streak over the Pelicans.
Tyreke Evans had 18 points, including buzzer-beating shots in the second and third quarters, and Jrue Holiday had 15 points and 11 assists.
Parker scored 28 points, Manu Ginobili added 17 points, Green had 16 and Duncan had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Bucks 93 (3-4), Grizzlies 92 (6-1)
Brandon Knight converted a three-point play with 1.1 seconds remaining to rally Milwaukee past Memphis, handing the Grizzlies their first loss of the season after six consecutive victories.
Memphis guard Mike Conley was fouled with 8 seconds remaining, but missed the first free throw and made the second to make it 92-90.
On the ensuing possession, Knight scored on a drive and drew a foul from Courtney Lee. Knight then hit the winning free throw.
Lee’s long jumper at the buzzer from beyond the top of the key was off the mark.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to pace the Bucks, and Knight added 14.
Zach Randolph had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Marc Gasol scored 18 for Memphis, who were off to the best start in franchise history.
Clippers 106 (4-2), Trail Blazers 102 (3-3)
JJ Redick scored 30 points, Blake Griffin added 23 and Los Angeles hung on to beat Portland.
Chris Paul added 22 points and 11 assists, Jamal Crawford had 20 points in his first start of the season, and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 14 rebounds.
Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 25 points. LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Robin Lopez scored 17 of his 19 in the first half.
Griffin and Redick combined to score 15 of the Clippers’ first 17 points of the fourth, extending their lead to 96-88. Griffin had six and Redick nine in the run.
Heat 102 (4-2), Timberwolves 92 (2-4)
Dwyane Wade had 25 points and eight assists, Chris Bosh scored 24 and Miami held on in the final minutes to beat Minnesota.
Luol Deng scored 14 points and Norris Cole added 11 for the Heat, who snapped a two-game slide.
Nikola Pekovic finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who lost for the second time in two nights and got confirmation earlier in the day that point guard Ricky Rubio will be out indefinitely because of a sprained left ankle.
Thaddeus Young scored 16, Shabazz Muhammad had 13 and Gorgui Dieng added 12 for Minnesota.
Celtics 106 (3-3), Bulls 101 (5-2)
Fill-in starter Evan Turner scored 19 points to lead short-handed Boston over Chicago.
The teams played without injured All-Star point guards Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose. Rondo and rookie guard Marcus Smart sat out for the Celtics, while Rose was sidelined for the second straight game and fourth in the last five.
Kelly Olynk had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics. Jeff Green scored 14.
Aaron Brooks led the Bulls with 26 points, and Pau Gasol added 19.
Boston won for the second time in their last 10 trips to the United Center. The Bulls lost for the second time in seven games this season.
Wizards 97 (5-2), Pacers 90 (1-6)
John Wall scored 18 points and Nene had 17 to lead Washington over Indiana.
The Wizards held a 54-35 lead at half-time, but had to hold off a late charge by the Pacers. Indiana outscored Washington 30-19 in the third quarter to get close, but couldn’t take the lead.
Paul Pierce had 12 points and Kevin Seraphin came off the bench to score 13.
Indiana centre Roy Hibbert exited with a bruised left knee with less than a minute to play in the first quarter and did not return.
Solomon Hill led the Pacers with a career-high 28 points, including 20 in the second half. Chris Copeland added 14.
Hawks 103 (2-3), Knicks 96 (2-5)
Kyle Korver scored 27 points and Atlanta overcame a strong start by Carmelo Anthony and New York, handing the Knicks their fourth straight loss.
Jeff Teague had 19 points for the Hawks, who recovered after losing back-to-back road games at San Antonio and Charlotte by a combined five points.
Anthony led New York with 20 points, including 14 in the first period. Iman Shumpert had 19.
The Knicks led 63-48 in the third quarter before the Hawks rallied to take the lead with the final basket of the period. After several lead changes in the fourth, the Hawks took a 94-88 advantage with seven straight points, including a three-pointer by Korver and two baskets by Teague.
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