Warriors turn back Pelicans; Cavs shrug off Irving absence.
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Stephen Curry scored 30 points to win his duel with Anthony Davis as the Golden State Warriors dug deep to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans while the Cleveland Cavaliers demolished the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.
Reigning NBA MVP Curry’s haul in a 113-109 victory included five three-pointers as well as four rebounds and seven assists to boost the Warriors to 22-4 for the season.
Davis, second only to Russell Westbrook in the points scoring charts this season, averaging just over 30 per game, scored 28 points in the Pelicans’ losing effort.
Davis also pulled down eight rebounds and produced three assists but ultimately the Warriors had too much firepower for the home team.
Kevin Durant added 27 points for the Dubs while Klay Thompson finished with 17 and Draymond Green 12. The Pelicans fell to 8-18 following the defeat.
In Cleveland, Kevin Love scored 29 points as the Cavaliers shrugged off the absence of Kyrie Irving to down the Memphis Grizzlies 103-86.
Irving was given the night off after complaining of tiredness in his legs after last weekend’s victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
But the 24-year-old point guard’s absence was barely felt as Cleveland romped home thanks to Love and LeBron James, who chipped in with 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Love also contributed 13 rebounds, while J.R. Smith filled the void left by Irving to weigh in with a 23-point haul which included six three-pointers.
The victory saw the NBA champion Cavaliers improve to 18-5, tightening their grip at the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Zach Randolph led the scoring for the Grizzlies with 18 points and five rebounds as the visitors rested All-Star center Marc Gasol.
Andrew Harrison and Troy Williams scored 13 points for Memphis who fell to 17-9.
Tuesday’s game at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena was the first of back-to-back games between the two sides. The Cavaliers face the Grizzlies again on Wednesday at Memphis’s FedEx Forum.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said he was uncertain about the prospect of playing the same opponents on consecutive nights.
“We’ll see after the next game,’’ Lue said. ‘’It’s good, though, because you don’t have to change, go watch film and try to prepare for a different team.
“It’s the same team you’re playing again. Basically playing two games in one. So from a standpoint of preparing for a team and getting ready, it makes it easy.’’
In Chicago, the Minnesota Timberwolves overturned a 21-point deficit to stun the Bulls in a 99-94 upset.
Zach Lavine scored 24 points while Andrew Wiggins added 23 as Minnesota chalked up an unlikely road victory to improve to 7-18 for the year.
Jimmy Butler topscored for Chicago with 27 points.