NBA: NBA giants pay for slow starts

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant and guard Stephen Curry are ejected during the second half of their game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis defeated Golden State 111-101 at the FedExForum.
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant and guard Stephen Curry are ejected during the second half of their game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis defeated Golden State 111-101 at the FedExForum.PHOTO: REUTERS

Curry, Durant ejected as Warriors, Cavaliers & Thunder fail to shake off rust in time

LOS ANGELES • The defending National Basketball Association (NBA) champions Golden State Warriors and Finals runners-up Cleveland Cavaliers are still shaking off the cobwebs, with both powerhouses suffering double-digit defeats on Saturday.

The Warriors fell 101-111 to the Grizzlies in Memphis, while the Eastern Conference champions Cavaliers were manhandled at home by the Orlando Magic and went down 93-114.

The Warriors dropped their second of three games to start the new season as centre Marc Gasol scored 34 points for the Grizzlies, who continued their strong play against Golden State at the FedExForum.

Last season, Memphis handed Golden State two of their 15 regular-season losses, including a 110-89 rout in December at the same venue.

The Warriors got 37 points from guard Stephen Curry, and 29 points and 13 rebounds from forward Kevin Durant. But both were thrown out of the game with 43 seconds left for arguing with the officials.

Curry was tossed after he threw his mouthpiece in the direction of an official after he thought he had been fouled on a drive to the basket. Durant tried to argue in Curry's favour and was sent to the dressing room as well.

It was the first time in his career that Curry had been ejected in a regular-season game. A much calmer Curry admitted after the game that his ejection was justified.

"I thought I got fouled. My frustration boiled over and I did something stupid," he said. "I deserved to get kicked out."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, however, did not agree. "I think he should be suspended eight, maybe 10 games. It was egregious. It was awful," Kerr said sarcastically when asked by reporters if he was worried about Curry facing a possible suspension. "It was a danger to thousands of people in the stands."

On a serious note, he said of the defeat: "I think it's more just the way things are going. We're obviously not ready.

"I'm not doing a great job putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going. It's just one of those rough patches, and I'm sure we can climb our way out of it. It may take some time."

In Cleveland, Nikola Vucevic scored 23 points and the Orlando Magic snapped a 17-game losing streak to the Cavaliers.

Orlando led by as many as 37 points and never trailed.

The skid was the longest in Magic history to any one team, just as the winning streak was Cleveland's best against a single opponent. The Cavaliers had not lost to the Magic since November 2012.

Jonathon Simmons came off the bench to score 19 points for Orlando and Evan Fournier finished with 13 points. D.J. Augustin had 12 points and 16 assists.

LeBron James led the Cavs with 22 points, while Kevin Love had 19 points and nine rebounds.

"They were playing at a different speed than we were. Way faster," said Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue.

"They got early confidence and when they got off to their hot start, it was hard to put them out."

In Salt Lake City, the short-handed Utah Jazz used a dominant defensive effort to upset the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-87.

Joe Ingles led a balanced attack as five Jazz players scored in double figures. He finished with 19 points. Rudy Gobert also had a big night for the Jazz with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Ricky Rubio added 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points for the Thunder, while Paul George had 22 points.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2017, with the headline 'NBA Giants pay for slow starts'. Print Edition | Subscribe