LOS ANGELES —Paul George scored 21 points as the Indiana Pacers took full advantage of the absence of LeBron James to defeat the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers 103-93 on Wednesday.
George also weighed in with 11 rebounds while teammate Jeff Teague added 20 points as the Pacers improved to 6-6 as the Cavaliers suffered only their second defeat of the season to go to 9-2.
NBA Finals MVP James had been rested while J.R. Smith was also missing for the Cavs, nursing a right ankle sprain.
While Kevin Love (27 points) and Kyrie Irving (24) both made double figures for the Cavs, the absence of James’ eventually told as the Pacers delighted the home crowd at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena.
Meanwhile, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant had 30-point games to fire the Golden State Warriors to a fifth consecutive victory in a 127-121 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Reigning NBA MVP Curry finished with 35 points and seven assists after the Warriors held off a furious late fightback from Toronto to claim the win.
The Warriors appeared to be cruising to victory after opening up an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter.
The Raptors however gradually reduced the deficit to six points with a minute left after a three-pointer from Terrence Ross.
The Warriors hung on to improve to 9-2 while the Raptors fell to 7-4 after their second straight defeat.
In New York, Kristaps Porzingis exploded with a career-best 35 points to steer the New York Knicks to a 105-102 win over the Detroit Pistons.
A devastating second quarter spree where the 21-year-old Latvian poured on 10 unanswered points was the highlight of a superb display as the Knicks improved to 5-6.
It was the eighth game of Porzingis’s career featuring a haul of 25 points or more and he finished with figures of 13 of 22 from the floor, also a career high.
The Knicks’ heavy-hitters also weighed in with Carmelo Anthony scoring 22 points, Derrick Rose adding 16 and Joakim Noah snaffling 15 rebounds.
Rose was left in awe of the youthful Porzingis’s performance.
“He is dangerous,” Rose said. “For a second-year player that doesn’t really know the game like that, for him to come out and play the way he plays is incredible. And for him to be 7-foot-3 and move the way that he moves is kind of crazy. A unique, unique player.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the game had effectively been won in the second quarter, when his team outscored Toronto by 32-15 to forge a 66-53 lead at half-time.
“The second quarter was great, one of the best quarters we have played,” Kerr said.
“That’s probably the only quarter we’ve played tonight the way we want to play. Defense was good, we didn’t foul. We rebounded, and that was obviously the key to the game, that whole stretch. Draymond (Green) was brilliant. The whole quarter, I thought he was great.
“It was a good way to start the (four-game) trip,” Kerr added. “Beating a really, really, good team in a very tough environment.”
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