LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Stephen Curry made a timely return to finish with 38 points as the Golden State Warriors won their season-high ninth straight with a 126-118 victory over the Washington Wizards on Thursday.
With Curry on the bench in the fourth quarter, the Wizards cut the Warriors lead to just two, 108-106, but the two-time defending NBA champions pulled away after he re-entered the game.
Kevin Durant delivered 21 points on nine-of-18 shooting from the floor as the Warriors switched gears against the Wizards from their successful three-point attack to an inside game.
“We are trying to create momentum,” Curry said. “We understand what it means to win a championship. There are great challenges for us to focus in on.”
The Warriors had been dominating opponents with their three point shooting but after shooting just one of six from beyond the arc in the first quarter they adjusted nicely, finishing with 70 points in the paint.
Curry sank just two of eight three point attempts but ended up shooting 12-of-16 from the three point line in. Just one game after tying the NBA record by making his first 10 three pointers, Klay Thompson went one-for-four.
Curry said teams are starting to adapt their defence to stopping the three-point attack.
“Teams are adjusting,” Curry said. “We still got good looks.”
Centre DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points in 24 minutes in his third game with the Warriors since being sidelined almost a full year with a ruptured left Achilles tendon.
“It is just amazing. He misses a year and three games back he is starting to pick up his rhythm,” said Curry, who scored 30-plus points for the 19th time this season. “We will continue to get better and he will continue to get better.”
Trevor Ariza led the Wizards with a season-high 27 points and Bradley Beal had 22 points as their two-game winning streak came to a halt.
Elsewhere, Russell Westbrook scored his NBA-leading 15th triple-double of the season and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the shorthanded New Orleans Pelicans 122-116.
Westbrook finished with 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists for the 119th triple-double of his career. The Thunder improved to 10-5 this season when he gets a triple double.
Paul George had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Steven Adams added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Oklahoma City, who won their fourth straight.
Jrue Holiday scored 22 points and Darius Miller matched a career high with 21 for New Orleans, which has lost four of five.
The Pelicans were missing centre Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic. Davis missed his third consecutive game with a sprained finger and Mirotic will be out at least a week with a right calf strain.