Warriors 106, Rockets 104
In his first season with the Golden State, DeMarcus Cousins hasn't quite adjusted to the level of scrutiny and interest that comes with playing for the defending back-to-back NBA champions.
And after his best game of the season on Wednesday night in a win over the Houston Rockets, Cousins likened the media frenzy surrounding the team to a soap opera his grandmother watched every day when he was a child.
"I'm sure y'all have heard of it — "As the World Turns." She called it her stories. I used to watch it with her and every episode it was something," he said. "That's what this has turned into — "As the World Turns.""
So does Cousins, who scored a season-high 27 points to help end Houston's nine-game winning streak with a win, want to star in the basketball version of the show?
"No, I don't," he said. "I play basketball. I don't look for the drama or stories or anything like that. I just want to go play basketball."
Some have wondered if Cousins is a good fit with this fast-paced team and there have been some growing pains as he's been worked into the team after missing the first 47 games this season recovering from an Achilles' tendon injury.
But on Wednesday, with Kevin Durant out with an ankle injury, Cousins shined. He added eight rebounds and a season-best seven assists as Houston searched, without success, for ways to stop him. There were times the Rockets switched on defense and left much smaller players attempting to guard the 6-foot-11, 270-pound player. But big or small, Cousins didn't care who's was on him.
"I don't think anybody can stop me one-on-one period," he said. "So you can put whoever you want on me honestly."
Klay Thompson scored 30 points to allow the Warriors to bounce back after a loss to Phoenix on Sunday and avoided being swept by Houston after the Rockets won the first three meetings this season.
Golden State, which had lost six of 10 overall, is 4 1/2 games ahead of Houston atop the Western Conference standings. The Rockets are tied with Oklahoma City for third place behind Denver.
After trailing by 14 in the fourth quarter, a three-point play by Chris Paul got Houston within one with 10.8 seconds left. Stephen Curry made two free throws with eight seconds remaining to make it 106-103, and James Harden hit one of two from the line at the other end with 6.4 seconds to go. The miss on the second one bounced high off the rim and was rebounded by Andre Iguodala, securing Golden State's victory.
Harden was unhappy that they didn't play good defense until late in the game.
"We locked in and we got stops and we knew who we were guarding," he said. "We knew who we wanted to score, (but) we should have been knowing that the entire game."
Harden had 29 points and 10 assists for the Rockets but shot just 2 of 12 on 3-pointers. Paul finished with 24 points.
"We just had too many mistakes," Houston coach Mike D'Antoni said.
Curry added 24 points for Golden State. Durant missed the game with a sprained right ankle.
The Warriors were up by 13 after a reverse layup by Cousins with about 5 1/2 minutes left before Houston used a 7-2 run, with a 3-pointer from Eric Gordon, to get to 102-94.
Thompson added a basket for the Warriors before the Rockets used a 6-0 spurt to cut the lead to 104-100 with 47.7 seconds left.
Thompson made five 3s to give him 203 this season. He joined Curry as the only players in NBA history to have seven straight seasons with 200 3-pointers.
Golden State had a seven-point lead to start the fourth and scored the first seven points of the period, highlighted by a 3 from Thompson, to push the lead to 92-78.
The Warriors were up by 12 in the first half, but Houston cut it to 54-52 by halftime. A 3-pointer by Gordon gave the Rockets their first lead early in the third quarter and one by P.J. Tucker seconds later made it 60-56.
The game was tied later in the quarter after a three-point play by Paul before the Warriors used a 9-2 surge to take a 76-69 lead with about five minutes left in the third. Curry had five points in that stretch.
Golden State was up by nine soon after that, before the Rockets got two 3-pointers from Gerald Green to power an 8-2 run that cut the lead to 81-78 with two minutes left in the quarter.
But the Warriors scored the last four points of the period to extend the lead to 85-78 entering the fourth.
Thunder 108, Nets 96
Once Russell Westbrook figured out which of his many skills to focus on, everything changed.
Oklahoma City's point guard had 10 of his 11 assists in the second half and posted a triple-double to help the Thunder beat Brooklyn on Wednesday night.
Westbrook scored 31 points in his 26th triple-double of the season, but it was the passing that made the difference for the league's assist leader.
"I just tried to stay in attack mode and find ways to continue to get my teammates — I thought in the first half, I did a bad job in the first half of finding my guys," he said. "In the second half, I made an adjustment."
Westbrook also had 12 rebounds for the 130th triple-double of his career.
Paul George had 25 points and nine rebounds and Jerami Grant added 15 points for the Thunder, who shot 49 percent in the second half. Oklahoma City has won three of four as it battles to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 25 points and D'Angelo Russell added 14 points and seven assists for the Nets, who saw their four-game win streak snapped.
"I think against a team like this, you've got to be close to perfect to beat them on the road here," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "We weren't at that level."
The Nets were up by 17 at one point in the first half and led 52-42 at halftime behind 11 points from Dinwiddie. Westbrook scored 17 points in the first half to keep the Thunder in the game, but Oklahoma City shot just 35.6 percent from the field before the break.
Oklahoma City quickly eliminated Brooklyn's lead in the second half. The Thunder scored 20 points in the first 3:41 of the third quarter to take the lead, and they took an 80-78 edge into the fourth.
Oklahoma City dominated the fourth behind Westbrook's all-around play. He hit a 3-pointer after a scramble to put the Thunder ahead 100-87 with 4:51 to go. He had seven points, five rebounds and five assists in the final period.
"Russ creates opportunities," George said. "He just made the game easy for everybody else around him. That's just Russ being in his element."
Ed Davis had 11 rebounds for the Nets.
Heat 108, Pistons 74
Justise Winslow scored 16 points and Miami opened the second half with a 21-0 run on the way to an easy win over Detroit.
It was the biggest spurt and largest victory margin this season for the Heat, who are trying to hang on in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Dion Waiters scored 14 points and Dwyane Wade had 11.
Blake Griffin scored 13 points for the Pistons, who have dropped consecutive games for the first time since late January.
Miami (32-35) is still No. 8 in the East, two games ahead of No. 9 Orlando and two games back of No. 7 Detroit.
Andre Drummond fouled out with 6:30 left and finished with five points and nine rebounds — snapping his run of 19 consecutive double-doubles, which left him tied with Bob Lanier for the Pistons record.
Wizards 100, Magic 90
Bradley Beal scored 23 points, Thomas Bryant had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Washington made up a little ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race with a win over Orlando.
Jabari Parker added eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to help the 11th-place Wizards move within 1 1/2 games of the ninth-place Magic. Washington improved to 2-0 on its five-game homestand and remained 3½ games behind Miami for the final postseason spot.
Bryant and Parker each went 9 of 12 from the field off the bench, with Bryant's performance coming one game after he was limited to two points and a single rebound in 14 minutes.
Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and 14 rebounds for Orlando, which has lost four of five.
Hawks 132, Grizzlies 111
John Collins had 27 points and 12 rebounds, Trae Young added 22 points and Atlanta snapped Memphis' three-game winning streak.
It marked the most points that the Grizzlies, who lead the NBA in scoring defense, have allowed this season.
C.J. Miles scored a season-high 33 points and Mike Conley finished with 20 for the sluggish Grizzlies, who never had a lead.
Jazz 114, Suns 97
Donovan Mitchell scored 16 of his 26 points in the second half to lead Utah past Phoenix.
Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert added 18 points apiece for the Jazz. Gobert also grabbed 20 rebounds as Utah ended a two-game skid and pulled into a tie with the Los Angeles Clippers for the seventh playoff seed in the Western Conference.
Devin Booker's 27 points led the Suns, who came back from 14 down in the third quarter to tie the score but couldn't push past the Jazz in the fourth. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 18 points for the last-place Suns, who had won four of five.
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