LOS ANGELES, United States, Dec 14 – Stephen Curry scored 30 points to win his duel with Anthony Davis as the Golden State Warriors dug deep to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans while the Cleveland Cavaliers demolished the Memphis Grizzlies.
Reigning NBA MVP Curry’s haul in a 113-109 victory included five three-pointers as well as four rebounds and seven assists to boost the Warriors to 22-4 for the season.
Davis, second only to Russell Westbrook in the points scoring charts this season, averaging just over 30 per game, scored 28 points in the Pelicans’ losing effort.
Davis also pulled down eight rebounds and produced three assists but ultimately the Warriors had too much firepower for the home team.
Kevin Durant added 27 points for the Dubs while Klay Thompson finished with 17 and Draymond Green made his first triple double of the season — 12 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists.
Green also single-handedly stifled Davis in the final 4:48, preventing the Pelicans from making a single field goal.
“Draymond loves being in that situation,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He relishes it. He really does, even against a guy like Anthony Davis, who’s so good. He’s a nasty defender.”
In Cleveland, Kevin Love scored 29 points as the Cavaliers shrugged off the absence of Kyrie Irving to down the Memphis Grizzlies 103-86.
Irving was given the night off after complaining of tiredness in his legs after last weekend’s victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
But the 24-year-old point guard’s absence was barely felt as Cleveland romped home thanks to Love and LeBron James, who chipped in with 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Love also contributed 13 rebounds, while J.R. Smith filled the void left by Irving to weigh in with a 23-point haul which included six three-pointers.
The victory saw the NBA champion Cavaliers improve to 18-5, tightening their grip at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
Zach Randolph led the scoring for the Grizzlies with 18 points and five rebounds as the visitors rested All-Star center Marc Gasol.
– Big Three to be rested –
Andrew Harrison and Troy Williams scored 13 points for Memphis who fell to 17-9.
Tuesday’s game at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena was the first of back-to-back games between the two sides. The Cavaliers face the Grizzlies again on Wednesday at Memphis’s FedEx Forum.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said afterwards he had purposely chosen James and Love on Tuesday, rather than split the duo up over the two games.
“We’re home to play in front of our fans… So, with two of the Big Three, I know we can win that game,” Lue said.
“It will be hard to go down and travel, and to ask one person to try to carry the team, especially the way the offense runs,” added Lue, confirming James, Love and Irving would all miss Wednesday’s road trip.
Grizzlies coach David Fizdale bemoaned a second quarter performance which saw his team fall behind by 22 points at one stage.
“You can’t spot a great team that many points and think you’re gonna get it going on their floor and make a full run and come back,” Fizdale said.
“We showed some moments where we were cutting into their lead, but it’s too late. I was disappointed with our effort in the first half.”
In Chicago, the Minnesota Timberwolves overturned a 21-point deficit to stun the Bulls in a 99-94 upset.
Zach Lavine scored 24 points while Andrew Wiggins added 23 as Minnesota chalked up an unlikely road victory to improve to 7-18 for the year.
“It was a bad first quarter,” said Wiggins. “But we fixed it.”
Jimmy Butler topscored for Chicago with 27 points.
Butler had hauled Chicago back into the contest with a fade-away jumper that tied it up at 91-91 with 1:34 left.
But Lavine, Wiggins and Ricky Rubio combined for an eight-point run to give Minnesota an unassailable lead.