If the first two Warriors games are any indication, the rest of the NBA is in for another long season.
In Friday’s rematch of last season’s Western Conference Finals and the top two MVP vote-getters, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors came out victorious once again against James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Behind Curry and a balanced attack, the Warriors annihilated the Rockets 112-92 at the Toyota Center.
Curry led five players in double figures. The reigning MVP finished with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range. Marreese Speights and Andre Iguodala came off the bench with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Harrison Barnes had 12 points and five rebounds. Klay Thompson added 11 points.
Rookie Montrezl Harrell led Houston with 17 points off the bench. Trevor Ariza, Ty Lawson, Corey Brewer finished with 11 points apiece. Harden struggled all night, scoring 16 points on just 4-of-18 shooting, including an icy 1-of-10 from 3-point range. The MVP runner-up finished with a plus-minus of minus-22.
Golden State shot 46.2 percent from the field, including 9-of-26 from 3-point range. The Warriors dished out 26 assists and committed just eight turnovers. The defense held Houston to just 36.6 percent shooting. The Rockets shot just 5-of-23 from beyond the arc and committed 17 turnovers.
Festus Ezeli started at center for an injured Andrew Bogut (concussion) and finished with nine points, seven rebounds and two blocks. His counterpart, Dwight Howard, made his season debut and also finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
The Warriors took control of the game by scoring 13 straight points in a span of 2:39 late in the first half to take a 53-37 lead. Curry led the charge with five points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal.
With the Warriors leading by 13 midway through the third quarter, Curry picked up his fourth foul and interim head coach Luke Walton had to go to Shaun Livingston. With the MVP on the bench, the Rockets still weren’t able to capitalize. When Curry re-entered with 8:26 left in the final quarter, the Warriors had increased the lead to 17.
Play of the game: In the first quarter, Harrison Barnes received a pass from Draymond Green at the 3-point line. He easily drove past Trevor Ariza and threw down a vicious one-handed slam over Dwight Howard.
Stat of the night: While Curry has scored 65 points on 23-of-41 (.561) shooting in the first two games, the Warriors have held MVP candidates James Harden and Anthony Davis to a combined 34 points on 8-of-38 (.211) shooting.