Basketball: Curry, Durant ignite win

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (middle) drives to the basket as Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (left) attempts to block his shot during the third quarter on Wednesday. The Warriors won 127-121 as Durant and Stephen Curry combined for
Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (middle) drives to the basket as Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (left) attempts to block his shot during the third quarter on Wednesday. The Warriors won 127-121 as Durant and Stephen Curry combined for a total of 65 points.PHOTO: REUTERS

Warriors defeat Raptors for a fifth successive victory; Cavs fall as James is given night off

TORONTO • Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant combined for 65 points to give the Golden State Warriors their fifth consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) victory on Wednesday, as the Cleveland Cavaliers slumped to defeat in the absence of LeBron James.

Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Curry scored 35 points while Durant weighed in with 30 as the Warriors launched a four-game road trip with a 127-121 win over the Toronto Raptors (7-4).

Durant added nine rebounds and six assists while Klay Thompson finished with 14 points. Draymond Green (11 points) and Andre Iguodala (10) also made double digits as the Warriors improved to 9-2.

The Warriors were made to sweat for victory, however, seeing an 18-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle to just six points before they held on to win.

Despite the winning streak, Curry said that he is focusing his energy on improving as a team instead of winning as many games as possible.

"We've all been in situations knowing what it takes in April, May and June," he said.

"You can't fall in love with regular-season success and understand the little things that change a series and change a championship run.

"It's a long season. We all are smart enough to know where we are and assess if we are championship calibre or not, on both ends of the floor."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the game was effectively won in the second quarter, when his team outscored Toronto by 32-15 to forge a 66-53 lead at half-time.

"The second quarter was great, one of the best quarters we have played," Kerr said.

"That's probably the only quarter we've played tonight the way we want to play.

"Defence was good, we didn't foul. We rebounded, and that was obviously the key to the game, that whole stretch. Draymond was brilliant. The whole quarter, I thought he was great."

While the Warriors celebrated a hard-earned win, Cleveland were given a reminder of how difficult life can be without LeBron James after they went down 103-93 to the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.

James was rested for the game and the Pacers became only the second team to beat the reigning NBA champions this season.

Paul George had 21 points and 11 rebounds while Jeff Teague added 20 for the Pacers.

"They were a dangerous team, even if LeBron is not in the line-up," Indiana coach Nate McMillan said.

"Our guys did the job defensively, and especially in the first half, we had good ball movement. Tonight, the key was simply to take care of business, even if LeBron is not in uniform."

Kevin Love top-scored for the Cavaliers with 27 points while Kyrie Irving added 24.

The individual performance of the night came from Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, who produced a career-best 35 points in his team's 105-102 win over the Detroit Pistons.

The Knicks' heavy hitters also weighed in, with Carmelo Anthony scoring 22 points and Derrick Rose adding 16.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2016, with the headline 'Curry, Durant ignite win'. Print Edition | Subscribe