Golden State star Stephen Curry celebrates after the Warriors stole an inbound pass to seal a 106-101 NBA victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles (AFP) - Golden State star Stephen Curry’s latest dazzling fourth-quarter display lifted the NBA champion Warriors to a morale-boosting 106-101 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.
Curry, coming off a 47-point performance that saw the Warriors snap a five-game losing streak on Monday, scored 40 to keep the Warriors in the win column.
Curry scored 10 points in the final 78 seconds, his three-pointer with 1:18 remaining knotting the score at 98-98 before his layup put the Warriors ahead for good.
He drove in the dagger with a straightaway three-pointer with 35 seconds remaining, the Warriors keeping the Cavs at bay despite some uncharacteristic missed free throws in the final seconds.
Curry scored 18 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter. The league’s all-time leader in three-pointers made six of 11 from beyond the arc – his 200th consecutive regular-season game with at least one trey.
Curry’s heroics helped the Warriors withstand a near-triple-double from Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell, who finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists but was clearly in pain after rolling his right ankle in the waning seconds.
After treatment on the bench, Mitchell was able to make two free throws with 14.4 seconds remaining, but those were the Cavs’ last points.
It was a third straight setback for Cleveland on the heels of their eight-game winning streak.
Down the California coast in Los Angeles, the Lakers felt the absence of injured superstar LeBron James in a 120-114 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox scores a three-pointer in the Kings' 120-114 NBA victory over the Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers’ fifth straight defeat dropped them to 2-10 – tied with the Houston Rockets for worst record in the league.
Even with James sidelined by a groin injury and Anthony Davis ailing, the Lakers had their chances.
Davis scored 24 points and pulled down 14 rebounds and Russell Westbrook added 21 points and 11 assists, but the Lakers – who led by 13 points in the first half and were clinging to a one-point lead entering the fourth – couldn’t stop De’Aaron Fox down the stretch.
Fox’s 32 points included back-to-back baskets that gave the Kings a 118-114 lead and the Lakers couldn’t respond.
- Celtics win fifth straight -
In Boston, Jayson Tatum scored 34 points and Jaylen Brown added 25 as the Celtics cruised to a fifth straight victory, 131-112, over Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
Boston’s star duo paced a ruthlessly efficient Celtics offense that ended Denver’s four-game winning streak, the victory leaving Boston just one game behind Eastern Conference leaders Milwaukee, who fell 111-93 to the San Antonio Spurs.
Tatum connected on 11 of 21 from the floor for his seventh game this season of 30 or more points, and the Celtics received key contributions from Al Horford, Grant Williams and reserve Payton Pritchard in the victory.
“We’re trusting each other, we’re moving the ball,” Tatum said of the Celtics’ vibrant offense. “You pass and you trust that you’re going to get it back. We just continue to keep moving, find the open man and make the right play.”
Jokic paced the Nuggets with 29 points, but again found himself frustrated by early foul trouble in a sometimes testy encounter.
In San Antonio, the Spurs snapped a five-game skid against the league-leading but injury-depleted Bucks.
The young Spurs squad took full advantage of the absence of Milwaukee’s two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday.
Keldon Johnson scored 29 points for the Spurs, who took the lead in the first quarter and rolled from there.
Antetokounmpo missed a second straight game with a sore left knee and Holiday missed his second with a sprained ankle.
San Antonio's Keldon Johnson dunks in the Spurs' 111-93 NBA victory over the Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks, who are still awaiting the season debut of 2021 championship contributor Khris Middleton, were also without Pat Connaughton and Joe Ingles, and lost Grayson Allen to illness shortly before the game.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said it was good for the team that opened the season 9-0 to face some adversity, and he liked the way his players responded.
Jevon Carter scored 21 points for Milwaukee and Brook Lopez added 19, but the Spurs out-scored the Bucks 50-32 in the paint and 21-0 on the fast-break.
In Orlando, the Magic notched a second straight victory for the first time this season as they downed the short-handed Phoenix Suns 114-97.