The Golden State Warriors sent a “message” to NBA rivals Boston Celtics with a 123-107 victory in San Francisco in a repeat of last season’s Finals.
The Warriors have struggled so far in their title defence, while the Celtics have the league’s best record.
But Klay Thompson hit 34 points for the home side and Steph Curry weighed in with 32, including six three-pointers.
“We just played these guys in the NBA Finals, you want to send a message,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said.
Golden State went into the game fourth in the West Conference Pacific division after back-to-back defeats, and while they improved their record to 14 wins and 13 losses they still have plenty to do to get their season back on track.
The Celtics, meanwhile, ended a run of three straight victories but remain top of the Eastern Conference Atlantic division after just a sixth defeat in 27 matches.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum, who managed just 18 points, was adamant the defeat, coming just six months after losing out to the Warriors in the NBA Finals, carried no special significance.
“It was one game,” he said. “It’s not going to dictate our season. It’s all about how we respond.”
Elsewhere, the Brooklyn Nets, who are second in the Eastern Conference Atlantic, closed the gap on the Celtics with a 136-133 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.
The Nets were missing injured duo Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving but Cam Thomas’ career-high 33 points helped them come from nine points down in the final quarter to claim a third straight win.
In Chicago, DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points to lead the Bulls to a 144-115 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, who were without the NBA’s leading scorer Luka Doncic.
The Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic – the NBA’s Most Valuable Player – had a triple-double of 31 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists in a 115-110 win against the Utah Jazz, while the San Antonio Spurs claimed a 115-111 victory away to the Miami Heat. (BBC)