Golden State pip Rockets in NBA thriller

DeMarcus Cousins served as a facilitator before thriving as a battering ram, leading the Golden State Warriors to a 106-104 NBA victory over the Rockets in Houston.

Cousins posted season-highs in points (27) and assists (seven) to help the Warriors avert a four-game season-series sweep by the Rockets.

DeMarcus Cousins.Credit:AP

Golden State played without All-Star forward Kevin Durant (ankle), yet controlled the action for much of the first half before reasserting control with a series of offensive rebounds and second-chance baskets in the third quarter.

The Warriors snapped the Rockets' season-best nine-game winning streak by striking an effective inside-out balance.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 54 points on 20-of-43 shooting, with Thompson tallying 30 and five three-pointers.

The Rockets sliced what was a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to 104-103 on a three-point play by Chris Paul with 10.8 seconds remaining.

But Curry sank two free throws with eight seconds left before James Harden crucially missed the second of two free throws.

Harden paired 29 points with 10 assists but continued his recent struggles from deep, missing 10 of 12 threes.

Russell Westbrook scored 31 points in his 26th triple-double of the season to guide the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 108-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Westbrook added 12 rebounds and 11 assists for the 130th triple-double of his career.

Oklahoma City (42-26) have won three of their past four as they battle to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Miami Heat opened the second half on a 21-0 run on the way to an easy 108-74 win over the Detroit Pistons.

It was the biggest unanswered-point run and largest victory margin of the season for the Heat, who are in the eastern conference playoff race.

The Pistons have now suffered consecutive blowout losses but remain seventh in the standings while Miami (32-35) are eighth.

Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points to help the Utah Jazz record a 114-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns while Australia's Joe Ingles weighed in with 15 points, six rebounds and two assists.

Bradley Beal scored 23 points as the Washington Wizards made up ground on the east's top eight with a 100-90 win over the Orlando Magic.

The Atlanta Hawks snapped the Grizzlies' three-game winning streak with a 132-111 victory, the most points Memphis, the NBA defensive scoring leader, has allowed this season.

AP

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