Reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors claimed back-to-back wins by accounting for the slumping San Antonio Spurs 112-92.
Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant led the way in San Antonio as the resurgent Warriors posted their fifth win in six games on Thursday.
Thompson posted 27 points, while Durant had 24 points against the injury-riddled Spurs, who crashed to a fourth successive defeat.
The Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker for the first meeting between the two teams since Golden State swept San Antonio in the Western Conference finals last season.
Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers edged the Los Angeles Lakers 113-110.
The Lakers hit a late three to tie the game but Damian Lillard responded with a winning shot from beyond the arc as time expired.
POPOVICH EJECTED IN GAME THAT COULD HAVE GIVEN HIM BENCHMARK WIN
Gregg Popovich is one triumph short of Phil Jackson for the sixth-most wins in NBA history. The Spurs legend has 1,554 career victories which stands alone as the seventh most of all time.
The Spurs started the game looking like they would get Popovich that win, but thanks to a good second quarter and an even better third, the Warriors were able to come away with a win.
San Antonio have now had four chances to give their coach the win that ties him with Jackson and they have lost all four times. No wonder a frustrated Popovich ejected in the fourth quarter and calling the official "terrible f****** referee."
DURANT: 'D' IS FOR DEFENDER
Before signing with the Warriors in 2016, the 29-year-old Durant never blocked more than 1.2 shots per game. Since joining Golden State, Durant has said on multiple occasions that he is learning how to play good team defence and committing himself to being a better defender in general.
That manifested itself with a career-high in blocks per game (1.6) last season, but he has taken it to another level this term. He is second in the NBA with 2.38 blocks per game, trailing only 2016-17 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. Durant added three more blocks Thursday.
BALL HELD SCORELESS
Lonzo Ball simply did not have it offensively going scoreless in 28 minutes of play against the Trail Blazers.
The 20-year-old rookie took a mere two shots while on the court. He did not even attempt a free throw. Lonzo was also left off the court for a long stretch in the second quarter when the Lakers' second team came back from an 18-point first-quarter deficit.
Then in the third quarter, Ball was on the bench again as Kyle Kuzma led the backups in a back-and-forth frame that saw the Lakers tie the game and eventually take a lead.
Damian Lillard capped off a 32-point night with a game-winning three pointer with .07 seconds on the clock to seal the Blazers' win.