HOUSTON (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 25 points and the Golden State Warriors beat the Houston Rockets 112-92 on Friday night in a rematch of the Western Conference finals.
Curry listened to the crowd frequently rain down “MVP! MVP!” chants on Rockets guard James Harden. But Curry outscored him 25-16 and got the win again, just as he did in the real MVP vote and in the Warriors’ five-game victory that sent them to the NBA Finals.
The reigning champions improved to 2-0 while the Rockets fell to 0-2.
Harden struggled with his shot for a second straight game. The MVP runner-up finished 4 of 18, including 1 of 10 from 3-point range, but added seven rebounds and five assists.
Dwight Howard had nine points and seven rebounds for Houston in his first game after serving a one-game suspension for getting a fourth flagrant foul in the postseason.
Emotions ran high in a game that felt more like a playoff game than the second one of the season. The frustrated Rockets were called for two technical fouls, while the calm and collected Warriors cruised to their second straight victory under interim coach Luke Walton, who is filling in for Steve Kerr as he recovers from back surgery.
Barnes set the tone early when he drove around Trevor Ariza and slammed a powerful one-handed dunk over Howard. Golden State led 30-29 after a physical first quarter behind Curry’s 12 points.
The Rockets missed six of their first seven shots and turned the ball over five times in the opening five minutes of the second. Draining one jumper after another and pouring on points in transition, Golden State ran off to a 57-44 halftime lead.
The Warriors finished the third quarter with a thunderous block from Festus Ezeli, denying Corey Brewer a layup with less than 5 seconds remaining. A desperation 3-pointer from Harden clanked off the rim, and the Rockets entered the fourth quarter in a 16-point deficit.
Rockets: Houston committed 16 turnovers, while Golden State had just seven. Rookie PF Montrezl Harrell had 11 points and three rebounds off the bench. . PF Donatas Motiejunas remains out indefinitely after back surgery in April.
Warriors: C Andrew Bogut did not travel with the team after suffering a concussion in the season opener. Bogut received stitches for a laceration above his right eye after the opener. … Rookie F Kevon Looney sat behind the team in a suit as he continues to recover from right hip surgery.