Curry lights up Clippers in Warriors win, Cavaliers, Celtics triumph

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) handles the ball defended by Los Angeles Clippers guard Jawun Evans (1) during the first half at Staples Center. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 07 January 2018
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Curry lights up Clippers in Warriors win, Cavaliers, Celtics triumph

LOS ANGELES: Stephen Curry erupted for 45 points to propel the Golden State Warriors to a 121-105 NBA victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Curry, who has dazzled since returning from an 11-game injury absence, connected on eight of his 16 three-point attempts and made a career-high 15 of his 16 free-throws.
He sat out the entire fourth quarter, but his 45 points in 29 minutes on the floor marked the fifth time in NBA history that a player scored 45 or more in 30 minutes or less.
“I knew right away, when I got free for a couple of threes in the first quarter and they went down, I got in a rhythm,” Curry said. “Beyond that, you just keep your head down and keep shooting and stay aggressive.”
In the four games since his return, Curry has averaged 36 points while shooting 65.6 percent from the field.
“He’s on fire,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “Maybe the break was good for him. He’s been amazing.”
Curry’s performance meant the reigning NBA champion Warriors hardly missed forward Kevin Durant, who was again sidelined with a right calf strain.
Leading by nine at halftime, the Warriors out-scored the Clippers 39-21 in the third quarter, expanding the lead to as many as 30 points.
“That third quarter was important for us,” Kerr said. “But this was mainly about Steph tonight.”
For the Clippers, it was more than a demoralizing defeat as Blake Griffin suffered a concussion less than three minutes left in the first quarter.
Griffin was driving to the basket and seemed to slip before Warriors reserve center JaVale McGee inadvertently caught him in the forehead with an elbow.
Griffin collapsed to the court, shaking as he held his head in his hands.
He remained down for several minutes before he was able to make his way to the locker room.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, who have dueled with the Warriors in the past three NBA Finals, snapped their five-game road losing streak with a 131-127 victory over the Magic in Orlando.
LeBron James scored 33 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and handed out nine assists.
The Cavs star made 12 of 23 shots from the field, including four of seven from three-point range. He also had six steals and a blocked shot.
The Magic trailed by three at halftime, but the Cavaliers pulled away in the third, when they out-scored Orlando 40-23.
Isaiah Thomas, making his first start for Cleveland after injury sidelined him until this month, took a little time to adjust, going scoreless in the first quarter before finishing with 19 points and four assists in 21 minutes.
The Cavaliers improved to 26-13, third in the Eastern Conference led by the Boston Celtics — who held on for an 87-85 victory over the Nets in Brooklyn.
Jayson Tatum’s dunk with 1:16 remaining gave Boston the lead for good in a game that saw the lead change hands eight times in the fourth quarter.
Tatum’s three-pointer pushed Boston’s lead to 87-83 with 45.7 seconds left.
But the Nets wouldn’t go away. Joe Harris scored on a put-back and Brooklyn thwarted a drive by Kyrie Irving before finding themselves unable to come up with a game-tying basket despite four chances in the waning seconds.
Irving finished with 21 points to lead the Celtics, who notched their sixth straight win.
In Detroit, the Pistons shook off the injury absences of Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Stanley Johnson to beat the Houston Rockets 108-101.
Tobias Harris scored 27 points, one of six Detroit players to score in double figures in the win over a Rockets team that in the absence of injured star James Harden slumped to a seventh defeat in nine games.
In Indianapolis, Victor Oladipo returned from injury to score 23 points with nine assists and five steals in the Indiana Pacers’ 125-86 victory over the sluggish Chicago Bulls.
Chicago came into the contest having scored at least 110 points in five straight games but struggled offensively, committing 16 turnovers and shooting just 37.5 percent from the floor to trail by as many as 41 points.


Leonard stars as Raptors claw back with win over Bucks

Updated 20 May 2019
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Leonard stars as Raptors claw back with win over Bucks

  • Milwaukee’s MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggles to just 12 points
  • He then fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period

LOS ANGELES: Kawhi Leonard scored eight of his 36 points in the second overtime period Sunday to lead the Toronto Raptors to a gritty 118-112 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
The Raptors, who dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Milwaukee, clawed their way back to 2-1 in front of home fans and will try to level the set when they host game four on Tuesday.
Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and Spanish center Marc Gasol added 16 for the Raptors, who got off to a quick start and led much of the night but had to battle to put the Bucks away.
“We just played a lot tougher,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We were up guarding, we were physical. We were ready to play tonight.”
Milwaukee’s Most Valuable Player finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled to just 12 points on five-of-16 shooting.
Antetokounmpo’s 23 rebounds helped the Bucks stay in touch, but he didn’t reach double figures in points until the middle of the fourth quarter and he produced eight of the Bucks’ 20 turnovers.
Antetokounmpo fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period.
Moments later the Bucks managed to edge ahead 105-103 — taking the lead for the first time since Antetokounmpo scored the game’s opening basket — but Leonard and the Raptors roared back.
Leonard’s steal and dunk put Toronto ahead 112-109 and his driving bank shot gave Toronto a 114-110 lead with 32.4 seconds remaining.
Leonard played a key role in limiting Antetokounmpo and Nurse said his defensive play was “probably the biggest key of the game.”
“Not only did he just play good, but he made some huge plays with some steals and rip-aways and break aways,” Nurse said.
“Offense was hard to come by there for both teams for a while and any time you can get a steal and a break out it’s a huge momentum play.”
Toronto had a chance to win it in regulation, but they let a 96-91 lead slip away in the final 1:13 of the fourth quarter.
Milwaukee guard Khris Middleton’s putback basket from his own miss with 2.2 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.
The Raptors led 103-99 with 1:29 remaining in the first extra session.
But Malcolm Brogdon floated in a shot and George Hill drained two free throws to tie it before Leonard’s jump shot fell short.
The Raptors overcame a slow night from Kyle Lowry, who scored 11 points before fouling out with 6:12 left in the fourth.
Although Leonard scored 19 points in the fourth quarter and both overtimes, some grimaces from the Raptors star sparked concerns he might be injured.
“I’m feeling all right,” he said. “This is playoff basketball. Everybody’s hurting, you just have to keep fighting.”
Hill led the Bucks with 24 points and fellow reserve Brogdon added 20. Center Brook Lopez led the Bucks starters with 16 points.
“I feel like we gave ourselves several chances,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We weren’t able to get over the hump.
“When you have opportunities you’ve got to make them and we didn’t quite make enough of our good ones. I think we’ll be better in game four, Giannis, everybody.”