The Golden State Warriors vented their frustration over a controversial loss in their previous game on the playoff-hopeful Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night, using a 71-point first half to pave the way to a 137-90 blowout in Oakland, Calif.
Stephen Curry (25) and Klay Thompson (24) combined for 11 3-pointers, helping the Warriors win a game in which DeMarcus Cousins was ejected in the second quarter for a flagrant foul.
The win, coupled with Denver’s surprising home loss to Washington, pushed the Warriors (52-24) one game ahead of the Nuggets (51-25) atop the Western Conference on the eve of their showdown Tuesday night at Golden State.
The Warriors improved to 18-6 this season in the first game following a loss, which on this occasion was a 131-130 overtime affair at Minnesota that featured two questionable calls against Golden State in the final five seconds of the extra session.
The Warriors jumped on the Hornets for a 10-point lead in the first quarter, then ran off at the same time they were losing Cousins with 6:09 remaining in the second quarter.
With Golden State up 49-38, Cousins accidentally smacked Willy Hernangomez in the head as they pursued the potential rebound of a Quinn Cook 3-pointer.
Turns out, Cook made the shot, and Cousins was ejected for the foul.
Hernangomez made the two free throws to keep Charlotte within 52-40, but Kevin Durant followed with a jumper and Cousins’ replacement, Andrew Bogut, converted a Cook lob into an alley-oop dunk, sending the Warriors on their way to a 71-49 halftime lead.
With the second half of a back-to-back looming Monday night at Utah, Hornets coach James Borrego pulled his starters early in the third period, and the Warriors ran up their seventh-highest point total of the season.
The 137 points allowed was the most by a Hornets opponent this season.
Curry shot 8-for-14 overall and 5-for-8 on 3-pointers, while Thompson went 9-for-16 overall and 6-for-9 on threes as the Warriors overwhelmed Charlotte with 60.2 percent shooting overall and 21-for-33 (63.6 percent) accuracy from beyond the arc.
Cook added 21 points, a majority coming on five 3-pointers, off the bench for the Warriors, who completed a two-game season-series sweep of the Hornets.
Jonas Jerebko had 12 points, Durant 11 and Draymond Green 10 for the Warriors.
Durant and Green had nine assists apiece.
Hernangomez had a team-high 22 points off the bench for the Hornets (35-41), who fell three games out of the final playoff spot in the East.
Frank Kaminsky added 10 points off the bench for Charlotte, which got no more than nine points from any of its starters,
Kemba Walker had nine points for the Hornets, shooting 4-for-14 overall and 1-for-4 on 3-pointers.
Charlotte finished the game at 35.3 percent shooting and 8-for-32 (25.0 percent) on threes.
—Field Level Media