CurryY, Durant lift WarriorsS over Clippers in NBA thriller

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

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LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Stephen Curry scored the last of his 42 points on a driving layup with a half-second remaining Sunday, and reigning NBA champion Golden State edged the Los Angeles Clippers 129-127.

Kevin Durant added 35 points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors (23-11), who won for the eighth time in 10 games despite the Clippers hitting 18 of 23 three-point attempts.

Curry did not play when the Clippers beat the Warriors in overtime earlier this season, but the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player lifted Golden State on his shoulders in the rematch and closed out the victory with his dramatic winning shot.

“Just got to make a play and not rush and beat them downhill, and I made the play,” Curry said. “It was a great way to finish.”

The Warriors are 15-3 at home but have stumbled early and are in a fight for the Western Conference lead.

“Teams get hot and we have some slip-ups,” Curry said. “We just have to figure out how to weather the storm and get the win.”

Durant was powerful defensively, blocking three shots, and all his rebounds came on the defensive end.

“We buckled down in the third and fourth quarter and it was good to make them have to make some tough shots,” Durant said.

“Steph got it going. We wanted to keep feeding him and make it easy for us. The last play was phenomenal.”

Durant said being tested early will toughen the Warriors for games later in the season, as they chase a fourth NBA crown in five seasons.

“I like the groove we're in,” Durant said. “We've won some tight games. That experience of playing in some tight games, that's going to help us down the stretch.”

In another dramatic finish, Oklahoma City's Paul George missed a three-point shot at the buzzer and Minnesota held off the Thunder to win 114-112.

Andrew Wiggins scored 30 points to lead the Timberwolves while George had a game-high 31 points and 11 rebounds.

Russell Westbrook had a triple-double in a losing cause with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Kyrie Irving scored 25 points to lead the Boston Celtics over visiting Charlotte 119-103, while Tyler Johnson scored 20 of his 25 points in the third quarter of Miami's 115-91 win at Orlando.

Jaren Jackson scored a game-high 27 points to lead visiting Memphis over the Los Angeles Lakers 107-99, despite 22 points, a game-high 14 rebounds, and seven assists by LeBron James.

Bahamas big man Deandre Ayton, the top pick in June's NBA Draft by Phoenix, scored 26 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in a losing cause as Brooklyn ripped the visiting Suns 111-103.

Damian Lillard scored a game-high 33 points to lead Portland over Dallas 121-118 in overtime. Luka Doncic, a 19-year-old Slovenian rookie forward, sank a three-pointer at the buzzer to pull Dallas level at 107-107 and force overtime.

Finnish forward Lauri Markkanen scored 31 points, hitting 5 of 10 three-point shots to lead the Chicago Bulls over host Cleveland 112-92.

Sacramento's Buddy Hield scored 28 points, while Willie Cauley-Stein added 22 points and a career-high 17 rebounds as the Sacramento Kings rallied from 11 points down in the fourth quarter to defeat visiting New Orleans 122-117.

Myles Turner had 18 points and 17 rebounds for Indiana in a 105-89 victory over visiting Washington, while Vince Carter led six Atlanta double-digit scorers with 18 points and Alex Len grabbed 17 rebounds to lift the Hawks over Detroit 98-95.

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