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.
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.