LOS ANGELES: Klay Thompson scored 39 points as the Golden State Warriors withstood a furious late rally to defeat the Indiana Pacers 131-123 on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) and stretch their record season-starting, winning streak to 23 games.
The reigning NBA champions had looked to be romping to victory after piling on the points to lead by 28 at 111-83 heading into the final quarter.
But an inspired fightback from the Pacers led by the in-form Paul George saw the home side close to within seven points at one stage before the Warriors dug in to clinch victory.
Thompson’s haul included 10 of 16 three-pointer attempts while Warriors talisman Stephen Curry added 29 points and 10 assists.
“It’s a great feeling. I felt like I was due for a game like that,” Thompson told reporters afterwards. “Just have to try and build on it from here and have another great game on Friday.”
Thompson played down a slight ankle injury which forced him to miss most of the fourth quarter.
“I just rolled it, I’ll be alright…it should be sore for a couple of days but I’ll be back in no time,” he said.
Thompson sank eight of his three-pointers by half-time, a statistic which left team-mate Curry in a state of awe.
“He had eight 3’s at the half,” Curry said. “That is amazing. You could see the look in his eyes. When he has that look, he is going to have his confidence all night. All it takes is for a couple of shots to go in.”
George finished with 33 points as the Pacers reduced the Warriors’ lead in the fourth quarter. But it was to no avail as Golden State marched on.
The Pacers, who began the game with the second best record in the Eastern Conference, fell to 12-8 for the season.
The Warriors are 23-0, edging closer to the Los Angeles Lakers’ all-time winning streak record of 33 games set in the 1971-1972 season.
The Warriors next test is a road trip against the Boston Celtics on Friday, followed by a trip to face the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.
“Our guys were locked in,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said. “They were excited about this game tonight. We were thrilled with the way we played during the first three quarters. I don’t think there is any pressure on us. Our guys are having fun.”
LeBron leads Cavs charge
Elsewhere, LeBron James scored 33 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame an 18-point deficit to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 105-100.
James finished with 10 rebounds and three assists as the Cavaliers halted a three-game losing streak with a gutsy victory. Kevin Love added 18 points and guard Matthew Dellavedova 17 as the Cavs improved to 14-7.
James, who this week clinched a lucrative lifetime sponsorship deal with Nike which could be worth as much as $500 million (458 million euros), had missed the Cavs’ defeat to Miami on Saturday.
However, the superstar excelled in the fourth quarter with an explosive performance that hauled the Cavaliers into a winning position.
James drained a crucial three-pointer to put the Cavs 96-90 ahead with 2:53 left on the clock before forcing Mason Plumlee to foul out at the other end.