LOS ANGELES: Stephen Curry scored 25 points and the Golden State Warriors parlayed a hot start into a comfortable 137-114 NBA win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.
Curry added 11 rebounds and eight assists while Draymond Green posted his first double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 assists as the reigning NBA champions put together three straight victories for the first time this season.
It was just their second away victory of the campaign and moved them to 11-10, the first time in a month they have been above .500.
The Warriors, seemingly determined to turn around their dismal fortunes on the road, exploded out of the gate, engineering a 17-0 scoring run on the way to 47 first-quarter points and a 20-point lead after the first period.
They were up by 20 going into the fourth although the Timberwolves, led by 26 points from Anthony Edwards with 21 from Karl-Anthony Towns, cut that by half with 5:31 remaining.
Golden State responded, with Curry draining a three-pointer before Klay Thompson delivered a trey, a steal and another three-pointer to push the lead back to 19.
Six Warriors players finished in double figures, Thompson posting 21 and Jordan Poole adding 24 off the bench.
“I think what really propelled us that first half, especially defensively, is not fouling,” Thompson said. “As simple as it sounds, it has us playing at such a higher level.
“Our defense obviously fuels our offense, getting out in transition, hitting the open man. And it’s crazy how when we play simple basketball, it’s a thing of beauty.”
The Warriors will try to build more momentum on the road when they travel to Dallas for a Western Conference finals rematch on Tuesday.
The Mavs will be looking to rebound at home after falling 124-115 to the Bucks in Milwaukee on Sunday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points with 11 rebounds for the Bucks and Grayson Allen, who was a perfect seven-for-seven from three-point range in the first half, added 25.
Luka Doncic scored 27 points to lead Dallas, who suffered a fourth straight defeat.
It was no surprise to see the league-leading Boston Celtics cruise to a 130-121 home victory over the Washington Wizards.
Even with MVP candidate Jayson Tatum sidelined with a sore ankle, the Celtics offense was explosive. Boston connected on 16 of 34 three-point attempts and shot 55 percent from the field overall in a game that was more lopsided than the final score indicated.
Jaylen Brown scored a season-high 36 points to lead seven Celtics players in double figures in the team’s 16th win of the season.
At Madison Square Garden, Memphis star Ja Morant thrived in the spotlight, with a triple-double of 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists powering the Grizzlies to a 127-123 victory over the New York Knicks.
Morant rebounded his own miss and made the put-back basket to put Memphis up 124-123 with 13.9 seconds remaining, and the Grizzlies — who had led by 12 early in the fourth quarter — sealed it with a string of free-throws.
Across town in Brooklyn, superstar Kevin Durant scored 31 points and Seth Curry added 29 off the bench as the Nets pulled away late for a 111-97 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Seth Curry hit seven of 10 from three-point range and scored the Nets’ first eight points of the final period. His three-pointer with 6:45 remaining pushed the Nets’ lead to nine points.
“We kept using the word ‘aggressive,’” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said of the mindset in a game that featured 16 lead changes. “We want to be the aggressors on every possession.”
Jerami Grant led the Blazers with 29 points, stepping up again as Damian Lillard remained sidelined with a calf strain.
In Los Angeles, injured Clippers stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard watched from the bench as Croatian center Ivica Zubac scored 31 points and pulled down a career-high 29 rebounds, blocked three shots and handed out three assists before fouling out in the Clippers’ 114-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Zubac’s 29 rebounds were the most in an NBA game this season and three short of the Clippers’ franchise record of 32 — set by Swen Nater back in 1979.