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Curry buzzer-beater lifts Warriors; Lakers, Nets win

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Stephen Curry hit the first buzzer-beating game-winner of his illustrious NBA career yesterday, draining a step back jumper to lift Golden State to a 105-103 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Curry, the smooth shooter who this season broke the league’s all-time record for three-pointers, was clearly thrilled to add another scoring achievement to his resume.

“About time!” Curry told an on-court TV interviewer. “That’s my first one!”

Curry scored 22 points, but for much of the night there was frustration for him and his Warriors teammates, who trailed Western Conference stragglers Houston by as many as 15 points.

A day after falling in overtime to the Indiana Pacers, the Warriors got off to a slow start, Curry himself missing nine of his 10 attempts from the field in the first half and letting his frustration show when he kicked a courtside chair.

The Warriors trailed 54-43 at halftime, but scored 33 points in the third quarter to go into the final quarter with the score knotted at 76-76.

It was 103-103 with 11.5 seconds remaining when Houston’s Garrison Matthews missed a three-pointer. Golden State got the rebound and on the inbounds after a timeout got the ball to Curry.

The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry chases a loose ball against Houston Rockets’ Christian Wood. PHOTO: AFP
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James goes up to shoot against the Orlando Magic. PHOTO: AP

“This whole game was crazy,” Curry said. “Back to back, we were kind of stuck in the mud and trying to find our way through it.”

LAKERS BOUNCE BACK

The beleaguered Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from their embarrassing loss to the Pacers with a 116-105 victory over the Magic in Orlando.

Superstar LeBron James scored 29 points, his last two coming on an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Russell Westbrook to seal the victory.

Carmelo Anthony added 23 points off the bench, 19 of them in the second half for the Lakers, who opened the third quarter on a 19-2 scoring run and out-scored the Magic 31-16 in the period.

Westbrook, who was benched late in Wednesday’s loss to Indiana – in which the Lakers blew a 15-point lead – scored 18 points with 11 rebounds and seven assists.

“Russ is a high-character guy, we knew he was going to respond,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

On Friday, Vogel used reserve Stanley Johnson alongside the starters in the second half, the 10-day contract player making a confident pair of three-pointers as the Lakers gradually took control over a Magic team with the worst record in the league.

NETS REGAIN EAST LEAD

It was all-change atop the Eastern Conference, as the Brooklyn Nets regained the lead with a 117-102 victory over the Spurs in San Antonio – along with Milwaukee’s 94-90 victory over Chicago that knocked the Bulls out of the top spot.

The Miami Heat, who went into the day second in the East, couldn’t capitalise on the Bulls’ setback, falling 110-108 to the Hawks in Atlanta.

James Harden fuelled the Nets with a triple-double of 37 points 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Kyrie Irving added 24 points for Brooklyn, who are still without injured star Kevin Durant.

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