Curry led Warriors shine as jaw-dropping action leaves fans thrilled
SPORTS By Reuters | April 6th 2019
Stephen Curry rebounded from his lowest-scoring game of the season with one of his best, bombing in a game-high 40 points Friday night as the Golden State Warriors outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-114 at Oakland, Calif., in a rematch of the past four NBA Finals.
The victory allowed the Warriors (55-24) to move within one win of clinching the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs, which start next weekend.
The Warriors swept the Cavaliers, then led by LeBron James, in last season’s Finals.
In sweeping the season series from the Cavaliers for the second consecutive season, the Warriors led wire-to-wire but saw a 21-point lead shrink to 115-112 with 2:52 to play.
Cleveland then had a chance to tie, but Collin Sexton misfired on a 3-point attempt.
When Curry countered at the other end with his ninth trey of the game, the Warriors had enough breathing room to coast home for a fourth straight win.
After having been limited to seven points in a road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, Curry came out firing against the Cavaliers, scoring 18 points in the first quarter.
After seeing his run of nine straight games with at least five 3-pointers end with a 1-for-9 outing against the Lakers, Curry shot 9-for-12 from beyond the arc against the Cavaliers.
Along the way, he passed Paul Arizin (16,266) for third place on the Warriors’ all-time scoring list, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain (17,783) and Rick Barry (16,447). Curry ended the night with 16,283 points.
The 40-point game was the eighth of the season for Curry, who had 42 in Golden State’s win at Cleveland in December.
Draymond Green backed Curry with 20 points, and Kevin Durant had 15 points, Quinn Cook 14 and Klay Thompson 11 for the Warriors, who outshot the Cavaliers 52.9 per cent to 44.3 per cent and outscored them 60-21 on 3-pointers.
Sexton, the third-leading scorer among rookies this season, bounced back from a 1-for-8 first half to spearhead the Cleveland rally with 27 points.
He finished 10-for-21 from the field.
Cedi Osman (15 points), Larry Nance Jr. (13), David Nwaba (13), Tristan Thompson (12), Ante Zizic (12) and Jordan Clarkson (10) also scored in double figures for the Cavaliers, who were completing an eight-day, five-game Western swing.
Nance completed the game’s only double-double with a game-high 14 rebounds. The Cavaliers outrebounded the Warriors 48-38.
Cleveland dropped all five games on the trip, extending their overall losing streak to eight games and their road skid to 11.
Nuggets back on track as they defeat Blazers
Nikola Jokic finished with 22 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, Paul Millsap scored 25 points, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 119-110 on Friday night.
Jamal Murray scored 23 points to help the Nuggets clinch the Northwest Division and at least the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. Denver (53-26) has a slim chance at the top seed and leads Houston by 1 1/2 games for the second seed, with a game at hand.
Enes Kanter had 24 points, Rodney Hood had 17 points and Al-Farouq Aminu had 12 points and 14 rebounds for Portland (50-29). Damian Lillard scored 14 points and missed all six of his 3-point attempts.
Down three heading into the final 12 minutes, Jokic gave Denver a boost. He scored the team’s first seven points of the period and put the Nuggets ahead 98-91 with a spin move and layup with 8:21 left.
After a Portland turnover, Jokic fed Torrey Craig for a layup, and Monte Morris’ long jumper gave Denver a 102-93 lead with 7:14 left.
Portland cut it to three, but a bank shot by Murray and a putback by Craig made it 114-107 with 1:12 left. Craig, who finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, hit a 3-pointer with 12.5 seconds left to seal it.
Denver’s cold shooting to start the game allowed Portland to take an 11-point lead. The Trail Blazers made their first four shots and quickly went in front. They stretched it to 29-18 late in the first quarter, but the Nuggets finally got their offence going.
They started the second quarter on a 12-2 run to go ahead 34-31, and the lead fluctuated throughout the second quarter. Denver, thanks to a 14-0 edge in made free throws, took a 56-50 lead into the half.
Lillard was scoreless until his layup with less than a second left in the second quarter.
Denver led 73-64 midway through the third quarter before Portland rallied to take the lead heading into the fourth. The Trail Blazers outscored the Nuggets 23-11 in the final 6:16 of the period to lead 87-84 after three.
Jazz clobber Kings for 7th consecutive win
Grayson Allen scored a career-best 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting as the Utah Jazz won their season-best seventh straight game, an easy 119-98 triumph over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night in Salt Lake City.
Utah scored the game’s first 13 points and never trailed.
Donovan Mitchell recorded 23 points and nine assists as red-hot Utah won for the 12th time in 13 games. Rudy Gobert contributed 17 points, 11 rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals, and Joe Ingles added 17 points and seven assists for the Jazz.
Utah has won by 20 or more points on seven occasions during the 13-game stretch. The Jazz (49-30) are one win away from reaching the 50-victory mark for the second time in three seasons.
Buddy Hield scored 17 points for the Kings, and Marvin Bagley III added 13 points and 12 rebounds despite 4-of-16 shooting. Yogi Ferrell tallied 13 points, and Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 10 points apiece.
The Kings (39-41) need to win their final two games to reach .500 and end a streak of 12 straight losing seasons. Sacramento hosts the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday and finishes the season by visiting the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox departed in the second quarter due to a right foot injury.
Power forward Derrick Favors (back) and swingman Kyle Korver (knee) each remained sidelined for the Jazz. Point guard Ricky Rubio (hamstring) returned after a one-game absence but played just five first-quarter minutes before exiting with a quadriceps injury.
Utah shot 51.8 per cent from the field, including 15 of 33 from 3-point range.
Sacramento shot 41.3 per cent from the floor and was 5 of 21 from behind the arc.
Allen scored 19 points on 8-of-8 shooting as Utah sped out to a 70-44 halftime advantage.
Allen had 13 first-quarter points and added the first two baskets of the second quarter as the Jazz built a 39-20 lead. The margin reached 68-38 when Gobert converted a three-point play with 2:09 remaining in the half.
The Kings were unable to dent the deficit in the third quarter, and the Utah lead was again 30 when Royce O’Neale drained a 3-pointer with 3:58 remaining.
The Jazz led 96-70 entering the final stanza and continued to lead comfortably over the final 12 minutes.
AFCON set for knockout stage