Warriors bounce back, Cavaliers hit form
Stephen Curry scored 39 points as the Golden State Warriors bounced back from defeat with a 136-111 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.
The Warriors, whose charge towards a season record of 73 wins stumbled with a defeat to Boston on Friday, improved to 69-8.
The Warriors have won every match that has immediately followed each of their eight defeats this season.
No team has ever finished a season without at least one set of consecutive losses.
Curry was once again the talisman for the Warriors, making nine of the Warriors’ 18 three-pointers.
Curry also chipped in with six rebounds and seven assists, but was almost outscored by Portland point guard Damian Lillard, who poured in 38 points.
Elsewhere Sunday, LeBron James paid tribute to Cleveland’s endurance as the Cavaliers scored a 112-103 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
James scored 31 points and made 12 assists while J.R. Smith chipped in with 27 points as the Cavaliers shrugged off a grueling recent schedule to improve to 55-22.
The Cavaliers had been taken to the wire in an overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday after a win over Brooklyn the previous night.
After arriving back in Cleveland in the early hours of Saturday the Cavs were required to do it all over again with an early afternoon start against the Hornets.
“We’ve played against some really good teams that’s been hot as of late,” James said. “For us to even have the energy the way we played today and go out and execute the way we did, it’s exceptional basketball.”
More encouragingly for Cleveland fans as the post-season looms, the Cavaliers appear to be hitting form at the right time.
Sunday’s victory was their fourth in five games heading into the final five matches of the regular season.
Hornets coach Steve Clifford meanwhile was dismayed by his team’s leaky defense.
“Game on the line, three straight blown coverages, all basic stuff,” Clifford said. “Gotta make those plays, gotta make it hard on them. Can’t make those mistakes. They’re so good that they’re going to make plays anyway. They’re going to score when there’s good defense and they play better offense. We can’t give up those blown coverages.”
In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin returned for the Clippers in a 114-109 win over the Washington Wizards at the Staples Center.
Griffin was making his first appearance after a 45-game absence caused by a torn quadriceps tendon, a broken hand and a four-game ban for punching a team official.
Chris Paul, who scored 27 points and 12 assists, said Griffin’s mere presence reassured his team-mates.
“I don’t even know the box score or the stuff like that, but immediately with (Griffin) coming back, it is not going to be about numbers,” Paul said.
“I think it is a comfort level for us defensively. It is just a confidence with him on the court that he brings to all of us.”