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Warriors rally to beat Bulls, Spurs rout Hornets

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - 4 JANUARY: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors high fives Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors during the game against the Denver Nuggets on 4 January 2024 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Noah Graham / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP)

Golden State stars Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry shook off slow starts to power the Warriors to a much-needed 140-131 NBA victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

Coming off two blowout losses to cap a 2-5 homestand, the Warriors got off to another ugly start in Chicago.

Trailing 75-62 at halftime, the Warriors turned it around with 48 points in the third quarter.

Thompson connected on five-of-five from three-point range on the way to 17 points in the period, the shooting guard’s highest-scoring quarter of the season.

“I think we got off-track emotionally, spiritually, the last couple of games,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

“Our fans could feel it. We got booed for the first time since I’ve been here, and as I said both nights, we deserved it because our energy and our competitive spirit were not there.

“We found that again tonight,” Kerr said.

Golden State led by 15 going into the fourth, but the Bulls, who honored their 1995-96 championship team before the game, cut the deficit to four with less than three minutes to play before the Warriors pulled away again.

Thompson finished with 30 points and six assists and Curry added 27 points despite another tough shooting night that saw him make just eight of 24 shots from the field.

“Klay was brilliant,” Kerr said. “When he keeps it simple like that and just shoots when he’s open and keeps moving the ball, that’s when he’s at his best.”

Curry added nine assists and Jonathan Kuminga added 24 points off the bench for the Warriors, who had just five turnovers and withstood a 39-point performance from Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan.

In San Antonio, rookie star Victor Wembanyama scored 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the Spurs’ 135-99 rout of the Charlotte Hornets.

In less than 20 minutes on the floor, French prodigy Wembanyama connected on nine of 14 shots — including a pair of alley-oop dunks and a one-handed jam to start the second half.

The Spurs spoiled the return from a 20-game injury absence of Hornets star LaMelo Ball, who had 28 points, five assists, and five steals in his first game since November.

Houston guard Fred VanVleet scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half to help the Rockets edge the Pistons 112-110 in Detroit.

The Pistons dropped their seventh straight since snapping their record-equalling 28-game losing streak.

They had their chances, leading by as many as 11 in the third quarter and taking a 107-102 lead on Jalen Duren’s dunk with 3:53 to play.

VanVleet responded with a three-point play, a three-pointer, and a pull-up basket to put the Rockets back up for good.

Sixers top kings

In Philadelphia, Tobias Harris scored 37 points and Tyrese Maxey added 21 to lead the short-handed 76ers to a 112-93 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

The Sixers had lost three straight, including two with NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid absent with left knee soreness that again saw him sidelined.

De’Aaron Fox led Sacramento with 21 points, but the 76ers turned 17 Kings turnovers into 29 points and never trailed after the opening minutes.

The short-handed Indiana Pacers, missing playmaker Tyrese Haliburton, pulled off a 126-108 victory over the Hawks in Atlanta.

Buddy Hield and Obi Toppin scored 18 points apiece off the bench for the Pacers, who have won nine of their last 10.

Minnesota center Rudy Gobert returned from a one-game injury absence to score 24 points and grab 17 rebounds in the Western Conference-leading Timberwolves’ comfortable 116-93 home victory over the Portland Trail Blazers

The Los Angeles Clippers stayed hot, beating the Grizzlies 128-119 in Memphis behind a season-high 37 points from Paul George.

Kawhi Leonard added 22 points for the Clippers, who have won eight of their last nine games.

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