PHOENIX (Arizona) • National Basketball Association (NBA) action returned after a break for Thanksgiving, but the symmetry between the Golden State Warriors and the Philadephia 76ers remained intact.
The champions extended their record-setting start with a 135-116 rout over the Phoenix Suns on Friday, while the Houston Rockets edged the winless Philadephia 76ers 116-114.
In what is becoming the status quo for the Warriors, guard Stephen Curry scored 41 points and made a season-high nine three-pointers as Golden State stretched their unbeaten streak this campaign to 17-0.
The Warriors had a season-high in points and made a season-high 22 three-pointers and shot 56.8 per cent from the field, 57.9 per cent on three-point attempts.
"We're rolling right now," said reserve guard Leandro Barbosa, who made all five of his three-pointers while scoring 21 points. "We're just having fun. The chemistry is really, really good. We have so many options, so many weapons. Tonight was one of those nights when Steph was really hot, and when he is hot, he makes things happens.
"We were just enjoying watching him play," he added.
Golden State set the NBA record for consecutive victories to the start of a season in their previous game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, and Curry said there was no fear of a letdown coming in.
"We have an edge, man," said the reigning Most Valuable Player.
"We love the feeling of winning. Our confidence is high right now. That is the only thing that really motivates us."
If the Warriors make winning look easy, the Sixers have provided some perspective.
At Houston, Rockets guard James Harden drained a season-high 50 points to condemn Philadelphia to a 0-17 start.
And with 27 consecutive losses dating back to March, the Sixers now own the record for the longest losing streak in North American major professional sports.
Guard Isaiah Canaan and forward Robert Covington - both former Rockets - paced the Sixers, with Canaan scoring 23 points while Covington added a career-high 28 points plus seven rebounds, five assists and eight steals.
It was Covington who initiated a Sixers' comeback from a 16-point deficit late in the third quarter, capping that period with a three-point play that got Philadelphia rolling.
Covington buried the first of three consecutive Sixers threes before forward Jerami Grant (18 points) carried the torch with two free throws that tied the score at 93 with 9min 32sec left. A three-pointer and a transition dunk bumped the lead to 104-97 with 6:41 to play.
But the Sixers immediately surrendered a 0-10 run and their offence bogged down again, problems that had plagued them in recent close setbacks.
"It's equally as painful because they put themselves in a position where maybe you could steal a win," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "This one, was a little bit different because we clawed our way back. We got down 16 points in the third and found a way to go ahead."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS