WASHINGTON, United States, Dec 28 – Kevin Durant scored 21 points to lead six double-figure scorers for defending NBA champion Golden State and the Warriors pulled away in the third quarter to beat Utah 126-101 Wednesday.
The Warriors hit 33-of-46 shots in the second half, outscoring the Jazz 42-22 in the third quarter to blow open a close game in which Durant — who added six rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots — didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
“Utah played really physical and they played defense like we hadn’t seen before,” Durant said.
“We knew in the second half they would tire out because they were moving around a lot so we stayed with our offense and in the third quarter we started pulling away.”
Pat McCaw added a season-high 18 points off the bench while Klay Thompson and Nick Young each scored 15 points for the Warriors, who own the NBA’s best record at 28-7.
Rodney Hood scored 26 off the bench to lead Utah.
Sacramento’s Vince Carter came off the bench to score 24 points and fellow reserve Willie Cauley-Stein added 17 points and nine rebounds to power the host Kings over the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-95.
LeBron James compiled a triple double in a losing cause with 16 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds while Kevin Love scored a team-high 23 points as every Cavalier who played also scored.
Tyreke Evans scored 32 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists to lead the Memphis Grizzlies over the host Los Angeles Lakers 109-99. Brandon Ingram led the Lakers witrh 23 points.
– Thunder win streak hits six –
Oklahoma City’s win streak reached six games as Paul George scored 33 points on 11-of-17 shooting and Russell Westbrook added 30 points and 13 assists in the Thunder’s 124-107 home triumph.
“We took the shots that were good for us,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “When you’re trying to play and figure all that out, it just takes time. They’ve been eager from day one to keep getting better.”
Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams each added 18 points for the Thunder (20-15) while C.J. Miles led Toronto (23-10) with 20 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 16.
Kyrie Irving scored 21 points and passed out eight assists for the Boston Celtics in a 102-91 victory at Charlotte. Al Horford added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who lead the Eastern Conference at 28-10.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum scored 18 points, Terry Rozier had 15, and Shane Larkin contributed 11. Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 24 points.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 15 points to lead six Dallas double-figure scorers in a 98-94 victory at Indiana. Harrison Barnes and Yogi Ferrell each had 13 points for Dallas.
The Pacers (19-16) were without top scorer Victor Oladipo, who was sidelined by a sore right knee.
Dennis Schroder scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half, leading the Atlanta Hawks to a 113-99 home upset of Washington. Ersan Ilyasova contributed 20 points while Marco Belinelli added 19 off the Atlanta bench. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 20 points.
Jimmy Butler scored 12 of his game-high 39 points in overtime to power the Minnesota Timberwolves over visiting Denver 128-125 for their fifth win in a row.
Will Barton led Denver with 28 points and his two free throws with five seconds remaining in regulation to force over-time.
– Rondo has 25 assists in win –
Anthony Davis scored 33 points, DeMarcus Cousins had 27 points and 14 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo passed out a career-high 25 assists to power the New Orleans Pelicans to a 128-113 victory over visiting Brooklyn.
“We had (48) baskets with 40 assists, so that speaks for itself,” Rondo said. “It wasn’t just me. It was our team, a collective effort. The ball was hopping and we were making plays for each other.”
Teammates raved about Rondo, Davis saying, “To get 25 is pretty incredible,” and Cousins saying, “We looked like the Harlem Globetrotters at one point.”
Jrue Holiday added 23 points and E’Twaun Moore had 20 for the Pelicans, who won their third consecutive game. The Nets, losers in seven of their last eight starts, were led by Caris LeVert’s 22 points.
Kris Dunn scored 17 points, including two free throws with 7.8 seconds remaining to spark the Chicago Bulls over the New York Knicks 92-87.
Lauri Markkanen finished with 12 points for the Bulls, who have won nine of their past 11 games. Kristaps Porzingis led New York with 23 points.