LOS ANGELES: Stephen Curry scored 23 points as the Golden State Warriors snapped the Phoenix Suns' record 18-game winning streak with a dominating 118-96 win on Friday night in San Francisco.
The Warriors (19-3) avenged a loss to the Suns three nights earlier as the two NBA juggernauts played musical chairs with the top spot in the Western Conference standings this week.
The Warriors improve to a league-leading 12-1 at home and now lead the conference, moving a half game ahead of the Suns who dropped to 19-4.
"I thought we were much more patient, especially in the second half," said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. "Once we settled down, I thought we were really poised and competed and earned a really good win."
Curry busted loose on Friday after the Suns bottled him up in a 104-96 Suns win in Phoenix. Curry, who shot four of 21 on Tuesday, was better prepared for the rematch, shooting eight-of-20 from the floor and making a half dozen three pointers in 33 minutes of playing time in front of a crowd of 18,060 at Chase Center arena.
He got plenty of help from his supporting cast, including Draymond Green who delivered nine points, dished out nine assists and grabbed nine rebounds in the win.
Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II had 19 points each and Juan Toscano-Anderson scored 17 for the Warriors, who won their 11th straight game at home by double digits.
"That's the culture here," said Toscano-Anderson. "It all starts with the leaders. Everybody can´t be the main character in the movie, but you've got to play your role to make the movie work."
Phoenix had been hoping to win their 19th straight which would have put them in elite company as just 10 teams in the league have done it.
The Suns stretched their winning streak to 17 with Tuesday's win and to a franchise-record 18 in a row by beating the Detroit Pistons 114-103 on Thursday.
Phoenix played without their top scorer Devin Booker who is out with a strained hamstring. Booker also sat out the Detroit contest.
Elsewhere, Marcus Morris scored a team high 21 points and Paul George chipped in 19 as the Los Angeles Clippers rolled over the Los Angeles Lakers 119-115 in the first meeting of the season between the freeway rivals.
Luke Kennard also had 19 points for the Clippers while Reggie Jackson added 16 as the Clippers ended a three-game losing streak.
Anthony Davis scored 27 points with 10 rebounds for the Lakers, while LeBron James had 23 points with 11 rebounds after missing Tuesday's contest at Sacramento due to Covid-19.
James, a 17-time all-star, was placed in Covid protocol Tuesday after testing positive for the virus the day before. But the league on Thursday cleared him to return to action after he subsequently produced two negatives, one positive and one inconclusive test over a couple of days. Once a player produces two negative tests more than 24 hours apart they can return to action.
"Pretty confused, frustrated, angry with not being able to do anything," James said of going into Covid-19 protocols.
James blasts protocols
James was angry that he needed to isolate himself and his family while he waited for more test results.
He said that he always knew he would test negative and be back, adding, "I thought it was handled very poorly."
"I knew I was going to get cleared because I never, ever felt sick, at all," he said. "I know you can be asymptomatic, but if what I had was a positive Covid test, then what are we doing? What are we talking about?"
Also, Joel Embiid scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Seth Curry scored 18 as the Philadelphia 76ers edged the Atlanta Hawks 98-96.
Embiid capped a 7-0 game-ending run by nailing a jump shot with 42 seconds left in the battle between the two Eastern Conference foes. The Hawks' Danilo Gallinari missed a three point attempt as the clock wound down.
Georges Niang scored 13, Tyrese Maxey had 11 and Danny Green tallied 10 in front of the crowd of 16,800 at State Farm Arena.
The Sixers played without Tobias Harris, who was a late scratch with an illness. Disgruntled Ben Simmons did not dress and has played sparingly for Philadelphia this season.
Trae Young led the Hawks with 25 points and 10 assists, while John Collins and Danilo Gallinari added 18 points each for Atlanta, who finished with only nine points in the fourth quarter.
Kevin Huerter scored 12 points and Lou Williams had 11 in the loss.
The Hawks were missing Bogdan Bogdanovic (ankle), Cam Reddish (wrist) and De'Andre Hunter (torn labrum).
Elsewhere, Kevin Durant scored 30 points as the Brooklyn Nets held off the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves for a 110-105 win in New York.
The Nets won for the 14th time in 17 games in a chippy affair which featured a combined 56 fouls.