Having already delivered convincing statements earlier this week by drubbing the Cavaliers and Thunder, the Warriors were quick to send the message on Friday that exacting revenge for a previous loss was a pressing priority.
While All-Star Game starters Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry split responsibility orchestrating the offense, the Golden State Warriors’ collective length dominated defensively in a 125-108 victory over the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center.
The Warriors (37-6) stretched their winning streak to six games by overwhelming the Rockets (33-13) on both ends of the court.
Durant finished with 32 points and seven assists while Curry chipped in 24 points and seven assists as Golden State surged ahead in the first quarter and never looked back in a rematch of a Dec. 1 showdown won by the Rockets in double overtime at Oracle Arena.
Rockets guard James Harden produced 17 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists but was 0 for 5 on 3-pointers. Houston shot just 7 for 35 from behind the arc with Eric Gordon, the league leader in treys, going 2 for 14 overall and 0 for 7 on 3s.
As part of their defensive might, the Warriors recorded seven blocks and eight steals. They limited the Rockets to 44.8 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers.
The Warriors first flashed their offensive execution with a 10-0 run to the lead in the first quarter.
Houston leaned on Harden and a pair of reserves, forward Sam Dekker (17 points) and center Clint Capela (22 points, 12 rebounds) to keep the deficit manageable, and when Golden State darted to a 14-point lead midway through the second quarter, Harden returned to action and keyed another rally.
The Rockets managed just six points in the second quarter prior to a Patrick Beverley 3-pointer with 6:06 left in the half. Harden and Dekker followed by combining for 17 points the remainder of the period before Curry beat the buzzer with a 3 that gave the Warriors a 62-57 halftime lead and reclaimed momentum.
Golden State siphoned the life out of the Rockets in the third quarter.
While Houston shot 0 for 10 on 3s, the Warriors opened the period with three layups, a Durant dunk, a wide-open trey from Draymond Green (15 points, eight boards, seven assists, three blocks), a fourth layup and another Durant dunk.
When Curry added back-to-back 3-pointers, the Warriors led 87-67 and coasted in to victory.