Warriors, Nuggets top foes

Stephen Curry

LOS ANGELES  (AFP) - Two-time defending champion Golden State had all five starters in double figure scoring and the Warriors maintained the best record in the Western Conference by clobbering the Indiana Pacers 112-89 on Thursday.

DeMarcus Cousins returned from a two-game injury absence to help lead a third quarter demolition as the Warriors held on to their half game lead over the Denver Nuggets for top spot in the conference.

The Warriors improved to 49-22 on the NBA season and snapped a four-game losing skid at home.

"We got the shots we wanted. The ball was just popping," said Golden State forward Andre Iguodala. "We haven't played as well at home this year so we want to finish it right."

Indiana dropped to 44-29 and saw their lead over Boston (43-29) trimmed to a half-game in their fight for the fourth seed in the East.

The Pacers loss also means the Milwaukee Brewers claimed the division title for the first time since 2001.

Golden State led 53-43 at halftime thanks to a 18-10 surge in the second quarter. They then busted the game open in the third quarter taking a 70-48 six minutes in and breezed from there.

"Tonight I thought our spirit and our energy were fantastic," coach Steve Kerr said.

Cousins, who finished with 19 points, missed the final two games of Golden State's just completed four-game trip with a sore ankle.

Klay Thompson (18 points), Kevin Durant (15), Stephen Curry (15), Iguodala (11) and Draymond Green (10) also scored in double figures for the Warriors.

Curry backed up his 15 points with a game-high seven assists and drained five of his 12 three-point shots.

Golden State outshot the Pacers 49 percent to 39 percent from the field.

Tyreke Evans had a game-high 20 points off the bench, and Thaddeus Young 18 for the Pacers, who went 0-4 on a Western swing to Denver, Portland and Los Angeles.

Aaron Holiday added 13 points and Doug McDermott 11 in the loss.

Elsewhere, Nikola Jokic tallied 15 points and 11 assists as Denver used a balanced attack to win their fifth straight game with a 113-108 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Torrey Craig added 15 points for the Nuggets, who were playing for the first time since punching their ticket to the playoffs on Monday in a win over the Boston Celtics.

"I was really worried about this game just because of the hangover effect of clinching in Boston," coach Michael Malone said. "To pull this out, even though it wasn't pretty, speaks to our team and not being satisfied."

Eight players reached double figures for Denver, who are on a four-game road trip.