HOUSTON (AP) — Stephen Curry had 24 points, with four 3-pointers down the stretch, and Klay Thompson added 19 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 106-95 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.
The Warriors led by as many as 16 before the Rockets began chipping away at the lead.
They went on top by 2 with a basket by Jalen Green midway through the fourth quarter. That’s when Curry took over, making four 3-pointers in less than two minutes to power a 15-2 run that gave Golden State a 100-89 lead with about three minutes left.
Draymond Green made his season-debut after missing the first two games with a sprained left ankle.
“I felt awful in the first half, felt like the game was moving way too fast for me,” he said. “Didn’t really have my legs under me in the first half … in the second half I felt a lot better. I felt like the game started to slow down.”
His return to the starting lineup relegated Chris Paul to a reserve role, marking the first time the 12-time All-Star had come off the bench in his NBA career.
Since the NBA began tracking games started in 1982, no player had appeared in more games and started them all than Paul had entering Sunday. Including playoffs, Paul started the first 1,365 games of his NBA career.
The last time Paul didn’t start a game that counted was in the 2008 Olympics when Jason Kidd and Kobe Bryant made up the backcourt. Before that it was on Dec. 13, 2004, when he was slightly late for the team bus and benched for the first 4 minutes of Wake Forest’s game against Temple. Paul started the last 25 games of his college career, and then every game of his 19 NBA seasons until Sunday.
“It’s whatever I’ve got to do to help our team win,” he said. “So if that means this, if it means not finishing some games or whatnot, you know, if you get a chance to play long enough in your career, there’s things that’s going to change, there’s things that’s going to be different and I’m here.”
Paul, who checked in with 6:58 left in the first quarter, had eight points and seven assists in 27 minutes after combining for 24 points and 21 assists in Golden State’s first two games this season.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr raved about Paul’s selflessness.
“It’s massive the way Chris has embraced everything,” he said. “He just nodded his head and said: ‘Let’s go get ’em.’ Not ever a big deal. When a vet, great player, All-Star shows that kind of sacrifice it just sets the tone for the whole team.”
With Paul’s streak now over, Milwaukee’s Damian Lillard — who was playing in the 833rd game of his career on Sunday night — now has more starts than any other active player without an appearance as a reserve. Dallas’ Kyrie Irving is next on that list, with all his 748 NBA appearances being starts.
Draymond Green, who coach Kerr said was on a minutes restriction, had four points, five rebounds and five assists in 21 minutes.
The Warriors have won both of their road games this season after dropping their first eight on the road to start last season.
“We tried last year,” Thompson said. “It just didn’t work out in our favor.”
Jalen Green had 21 points and Alperen Sengun added 19 for the Rockets, who fell to 0-3 this season.
Houston coach Ime Udoka was impressed with the play of Jae’Sean Tate, who had six points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
“His physicality, his versatility, I think he was really a big part of what transpired in that third and fourth when he brought us back,” Udoka said. “His toughness, making plays, his aggressiveness and focus and attention to details. All those things that we’ve got to have everybody have for the entire (game).”
Warriors: Visit New Orleans on Monday night.
Rockets: Host Charlotte on Wednesday night as they continue a seven-game homestand.