Coming off an embarrassing loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Golden State Warriors bounced back by ending the Houston Rockets’ nine-game winning streak with a 106-104 victory.
And they did so without Kevin Durant, who sat out due to a right ankle bruise.
Klay Thompson led the way with 30 points, while Stephen Curry added 24 points. The Splash Brothers went 8-of-19 from beyond the arc.
But the biggest factor in the Warriors’ statement win was made by DeMarcus Cousins, who stuffed the stat sheet with a season-high 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Cousins made 11 of his 16 shots and dominated the paint, especially when the Rockets switched on defense and left smaller players attempting to guard the him. Big or small, Cousins didn’t care who’s man was on him.
“I don’t think anybody can stop me 1-on-1, period,” he said. “So you can put whoever you want on me, honestly.”
Asked about Cousins’ performance, coach Steve Kerr credited a new rotation that allowed Cousins to get more space in the paint.
Steve Kerr says the Warriors are figuring out how to use DeMarcus Cousins better. They’re now separating him and Draymond some in the rotation, improving spacing around his post ups. That’ll likely continue. pic.twitter.com/wQodWrjEzr
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 14, 2019
“We’ve got to remind ourselves that it’s still pretty early in the process,” Kerr told reporters. “I don’t know how many games he’s played for us — 20? We’re all learning, me too. I’ve got to learn how to use him better. I thought we used him better tonight. I thought he did a phenomenal job of getting down on the block and controlling the game down there.”
The Warriors, who lost their previous three meetings with the Rockets, avoided their first regular-season sweep since losing four games to the San Antonio Spurs in 2013-14.
No word yet if Durant will be available when the Warriors visit Oklahoma City on Saturday.
Russell Westbrook continued his offensive resurgence in Oklahoma City’s 108-96 comeback victory over Brooklyn.
The Nets led by 10 points at halftime before Westbrook imposed his will, finishing with 31 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for the 130th triple-double of his career.
“It starts with me,” Westbrook said after the game. “It’s my job to bring the energy every night. It was my fault in the first half and I thought we did a good job of picking up in the second half.”
Westbrook capped a 21-4 run in the fourth quarter by drilling a wide-open 3-pointer off a loose ball scramble, after which he danced to midcourt, pounded his chest and screamed in celebration.
Heat bury Pistons with 21-0 run
In a game with playoff implications for both teams, the Miami Heat opened the second half on a 21-0 run and never looked back in a 108-74 win over the Detroit Pistons.
It was the biggest unanswered-point run and largest victory margin of the season for Miami, which is trying to hang on to the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
During the 21-0 blitz, the Heat shot 6-of-10 from the floor, 2-of-2 from beyond the arc and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.
Meanwhile, the Pistons missed their first 11 shots of the third quarter, eight of them from 3-point range. Detroit’s first points of third quarter came at 5:27 in the period with Blake Griffin at the line.
The win moved the Heat within two games of Detroit for the No. 7 seed and built a two-game cushion on the Magic and Hornets, who are tied for ninth.
Hawks’ dynamic duo strikes again
John Collins and Trae Young have become a lethal combination in the Hawks’ fast-paced offense.
And they didn’t slow down against Memphis, the NBA’s defensive scoring leader. Collins had 27 points and 12 rebounds, while Young added 22 points in Atlanta’s 132-111 victory over the Grizzlies.
It marked the most points that Memphis has allowed this season.
Nearly one-third of Collins’ field goals have been assisted by Young this season, including 15 alley-oops — and perhaps none more spectacular than this connection from beyond midcourt.
Awkward moment of the night
In between free throws, Joakim Noah was caught on camera either flirting with somebody in the stands or getting inside the head of Alex Len, who sent him to the line with a hard foul.
What is Noah doing 😂 pic.twitter.com/wWKgB2Womh
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 14, 2019
Stat of the night
Klay Thompson joined Stephen Curry are the only players in NBA history to record seven-straight seasons with at least 200 3-point field goals made.