NBA: Warriors bounce back, Cavaliers hit form

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors being interviewed after the team beat the Portland Trail Blazers on April 3, 2016.
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors being interviewed after the team beat the Portland Trail Blazers on April 3, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

OAKLAND, California (AFP) - Stephen Curry scored 39 points, as the Golden State Warriors bounced back from defeat with a 136-111 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday in the National Basketball Association.

The Warriors, whose charge towards a season record of 73 wins stumbled with a defeat by Boston on Friday, improved to 69-8.

The Warriors have won every match that has immediately followed each of their eight losses this season.

No team has ever finished a season without at least one set of consecutive losses.

Curry was once again the talisman for the Warriors, making nine of their 18 three-pointers.

He also chipped in with six rebounds and seven assists, but was almost outscored by Portland point guard Damian Lillard, who poured in 38 points.

Elsewhere on Sunday, LeBron James paid tribute to Cleveland's endurance as the Cavaliers scored a 112-103 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

James scored 31 points and made 12 assists while J.R. Smith chipped in with 27 points, as the Cavaliers shrugged off a gruelling recent schedule to improve to 55-22.

They had been taken to the wire in an overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, after a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

After arriving back in Cleveland in the early hours of Saturday, the Cavs were required to do it all over again with an early afternoon start against the Hornets.

"We've played against some really good teams that's been hot as of late," James said. "For us to even have the energy the way we played today and go out and execute the way we did, it's exceptional basketball."

More encouragingly for Cleveland fans as the post-season looms, the Cavaliers appear to be hitting form at the right time.

Sunday's victory was their fourth in five games heading into the final five matches of the regular season.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford, meanwhile, was dismayed by his team's leaky defence.

"Game on the line, three straight blown coverages, all basic stuff," Clifford said.

"Gotta make those plays, gotta make it hard on them. Can't make those mistakes. They're so good that they're going to make plays anyway. They're going to score when there's good defence and they play better offence. We can't give up those blown coverages."

In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin returned for the Clippers in a 114-109 win over the Washington Wizards at the Staples Centre.

He was making his first appearance after a 45-game absence caused by a torn quadriceps tendon, a broken hand and a four-game ban for punching a team official.

Chris Paul, who scored 27 points and 12 assists, said Griffin's mere presence reassured his team-mates.

"I don't even know the box score or the stuff like that, but immediately with (Griffin) coming back, it is not going to be about numbers," Paul said.

"I think it is a comfort level for us defensively. It is just a confidence with him on the court that he brings to all of us."