The Golden State Warriors sent a “message” to NBA rivals Boston Celtics with a 123-107 win at San Francisco in a repeat of last season’s Finals.
The Warriors have struggled to defend their title so far, while the Celtics have the best record in the league.
But Klay Thompson scored 34 points for the home side and Steph Curry weighed in on 32, including six three-pointers.
“We just played these guys in the NBA Finals, you want to send a message,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said.
Golden State entered Game 4 in the West Conference Pacific Division after back-to-back losses, and while they improved their record to 14 wins and 13 losses, they still have a long way to go to get their season back on track.
The Celtics, meanwhile, ended a three-game winning streak but remain top of the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division after just a sixth loss in 27 matches.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum, who only managed 18 points, was adamant. The loss, which came just six months after losing to the Warriors in the NBA Finals, held no special significance.
“It was a match,” he said. “It’s not going to dictate our season. It all depends on how we react.”
Elsewhere, the Brooklyn Nets, second in the Atlantic Eastern Conference, closed the gap on the Celtics with a 136-133 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.
The Nets were missing injured duo Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but Cam Thomas’ career-high 33 points helped them come back from nine points in the final quarter for a third straight win.
In Chicago, DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points to lead the Bulls to a 144-115 win over the Dallas Mavericks, who were without NBA leading scorer Luka Doncic.
The Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic – the NBA’s most valuable player – had a triple-double of 31 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists in a 115-110 win over the Utah Jazz, while the San Antonio Spurs picked up a 115-111 away win. at the Miami Heat.