Red-hot Curry carries Warriors over Cavs

Kevin Durant #35 celebrates with Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on December 5, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 129-105. Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Stephen Curry scored 42 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 129-105 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday in an NBA Finals rematch in name only.

Curry drained nine three-pointers and Kevin Durant added 25 points on nine of 16 shooting as the Warriors pulled away in the second half against a Cleveland team that bears little resemblance to the LeBron James-led Cavs that battled the Warriors in the last four championship series.

Curry, looking fully recovered from the groin injury that sidelined him for 11 games, added nine rebounds and seven assists. Durant pulled down 10 rebounds and handed out nine assists.

The Warriors were back in Cleveland for the first time since June, when they beat the Cavs to win their second straight NBA title and third in four years.

Since then the Cavs have seen James depart as a free agent to the Los Angeles Lakers. Forward J.R. Smith was also absent from the team, Kevin Love was nursing a foot injury and Kyle Korver was recently traded to Utah.

Tristan Thompson, one of the only holdovers from the Cavaliers teams that challenged the Warriors — and beat them for the crown in 2016 — scored 14 points with 19 rebounds.

Rookie Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers with 21 points.

“It just felt quiet, from what we’re used to,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of the atmosphere in Cleveland. “For obvious reasons — it’s not the same out there.”

Despite Curry’s 25 first-half points, Cleveland led at the break, closing the half on a 19-5 scoring run.

“I thought they competed really hard,” Kerr said of the Cavaliers. “First half, they knocked down shots, they controlled the whole half. Our talent took over in the second half.”

The Warriors improved to 17-9 — still fourth in a Western Conference led by the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers coming into the Wednesday’s games.

The Nuggets edged the Orlando Magic 124-118 in overtime for their seventh straight victory.

Jamal Murray led Denver with 31 points — including seven in overtime — as the Nuggets improved to 17-7.

Orlando reserve Terence Ross’s three-pointer with 6.1 seconds remaining in regulation knotted the score at 112-112. But the Nuggets seized control in overtime, scoring nine of the first 11 points of the extra session and hanging on for the win.

© Agence France-Presse