Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant combined for 61 points as the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors won their seventh straight with a 116-99 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
Durant delivered 33 points and 13 rebounds and Curry contributed 28 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Klay Thompson scored 22 points and hit consecutive three-pointers 50 seconds apart early in the fourth quarter to give Golden State a 91-89 lead with 10 minutes remaining.
Durant made his first half dozen shots, and eight of the first 11 en route to 20 points in a productive first half.
After the game coach Steve Kerr wanted to talk about their rock solid defence.
“I was really proud of our defensive effort,” said Kerr. “I thought our fourth quarter defense was tremendous.”
Derrick Rose played five minutes in the first quarter and scored three points but then came out of the game with a sore ankle. The injury came two nights after he scored a career-high 50 points in a victory against Utah. He will be looked at by team doctors on Saturday.
Andrew Wiggins scored a team-high 22 points for the Timberwolves who were outrebounded 61-39.
Jimmy Butler scored 21 for Minnesota after sitting out Wednesday to rest. Tyus Jones also returned and had eight points on three-for-11 shooting after missing the win over the Jazz because of a sore right foot.
Before the game, Kerr said injured DeMarcus Cousins is still a long way from returning.
“I love how far he’s come, but I don’t want people to get the idea that he’s getting close to coming back,” Kerr said. “It’s still going to be some time.”
Elsewhere, Kawhi Leonard delivered 19 points as the Toronto Raptors extended their best start in franchise history by beating the hapless Phoenix Suns 107-98.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 16 points and Serge Ibaka tallied 15 for the Raptors who improved to 8-1.
Leonard led a balanced Toronto attack but he also jammed his foot with two minutes remaining in the fourth but he doesn’t believe it is going to be a problem.
“I think it’s going to be all right, nothing major. I just pushed off on it and kind of rolled it and I wanted to get it looked at,” Leonard said.
Kyle Lowry had 11 points and 12 assists in the win for Toronto who started the season 7-2 in 2014 and in 2016.
The Raptors used a 14-2 fourth quarter surge to take down the Suns who got 17 points and 18 rebounds from number one overall draft pick Deandre Ayton.
Isaiah Canaan scored 19 and Devin Booker, who returned after missing three games, scored 18 for Phoenix who have lost seven straight after winning their season opener.
The Suns led for most of the first half to take a 52-48 lead into halftime.
In New York, Chris Paul tallied 32 points and 11 rebounds as the Houston Rockets busted out of a slump with a 119-111 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
The Rockets snapped a four-game losing skid which has coincided with the absence of NBA MVP James Harden from the lineup.
Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 28 points, Clint Capela finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Eric Gordon contributed 21 points for the Rockets, who had stumbled to a 1-5 season start after winning 65 games and falling a game short of the NBA finals last season.
“Third quarter was where they got their break,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.
“We’ve had some issues there before and it felt like they came out more aggressive and I thought we missed some shots. They picked up their defense. It felt that.”
Harden is expected to return on Saturday. He missed his third straight game with a strained left hamstring and coach Mike D’Antoni said he would probably return for the second half of a back-to-back series with Chicago.
The 34-year-old Anthony was coming off a game against Portland where he shot two-of-12 from the field.
Caris LeVert scored 29 points for the Nets, who got off to an impressive start before the Rockets took control.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits by Marisa Kennedy)