WAR­RIORS HOLD OFF ROCK­ETS

Curry helps Golden State to vic­tory de­spite Har­den’s triple-dou­ble

New Straits Times - - Sport -

STEPHEN Curry scored 32 points as the Golden State War­riors with­stood Houston star James Har­den’s 20th triple-dou­ble of the sea­son in a 113-106 NBA vic­tory over the Rock­ets on Tues­day.

The league-lead­ing War­riors stretched their win­ning streak to eight games, thwart­ing the Rock­ets’ come­back bid and send­ing fans in Houston home un­happy.

Curry drained a three-pointer with 1:46 re­main­ing as the War­riors stretched their lead back to dou­ble dig­its af­ter see­ing it dwin­dle.

Dray­mond Green scored 19 points, pulled down nine re­bounds and came up with three steals in a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally en­er­getic per­for­mance for the War­riors, clamp­ing down de­fen­sively as the Rock­ets sought to close the gap down the stretch.

Klay Thomp­son added 25 points for the War­riors, who im­proved to 60-14 and will host the 41-23 Rock­ets — third in the West be­hind Golden State and San An­to­nio — to­mor­row.

Har­den fin­ished with 24 points, 11 re­bounds and 13 as­sists. But he con­nected on just five of 20 shots from the field and was one-of­nine from three-point range. He also coughed up six turnovers as the War­riors came up big de­fen­sively — lim­it­ing one of the league’s most ex­plo­sive of­fences to just 38.8 per­cent shoot­ing.

“It’s at­ten­tion to de­tail, know­ing where their shoot­ers are, es­pe­cially in tran­si­tion,” Curry said. “We do a great job of try­ing to stay on a string so when two guys com­mit to the ball and there’s a pass out to the wing, the next guy is on alert ready to ro­tate, kind of a chain re­ac­tion. Try to make them un­com­fort­able and con­test as many (three-point­ers) as you can.”

War­riors coach Steve Kerr notched his 200th vic­tory, reach­ing the mile­stone faster than any coach in league his­tory — 238 games.

While the War­riors were strength­en­ing their grip on the West, the Mi­ami Heat clung to the eighth and fi­nal play­off spot in the East­ern Con­fer­ence with a 97-96 vic­tory over the Pis­tons in Detroit.

Has­san White­side’s tip-in beat the buzzer af­ter a wild scram­ble dur­ing which the Heat missed two at­tempts on their fi­nal pos­ses­sion.

White­side, who needed 13 stitches in a cut on his right hand last week, man­aged to ma­noeu­vre the ball to his left and get it in the bas­ket just in time.

The Heat scored the last five points of the con­test af­ter re­lin­quish­ing a nine-point lead in the fi­nal pe­riod.

“We’re men­tally tough,” White­side said. “We’ve been in so many close bat­tles like this.”

They are one game ahead of the Chicago Bulls for the last play­off spot in the East, while the Pis­tons slipped 2 1/2 games be­hind the Heat.

The Mil­wau­kee Bucks, bat­tling for play­off po­si­tion, bounced back from a 15-point home de­feat to the Chicago Bulls on Sun­day with a con­vinc­ing 118-108 vic­tory over the Hor­nets in Char­lotte.

The Bucks con­nected on 72.5 per cent of their shots in the first half as they built at 22-point half­time lead.

They stretched their ad­van­tage to as many as 26 in the sec­ond half.

“I thought the guys came in with the right mind­set to be ag­gres­sive on the road, know­ing what was at stake,” said Bucks coach Ja­son Kidd, whose team are jock­ey­ing for fifth place in the East with the At­lanta Hawks and In­dian Pac­ers.

The Hawks snapped a se­v­engame los­ing streak with a 95-91 vic­tory over the Phoenix Suns on Tues­day while the Pac­ers en­dured a heart­break­ing 115-114 loss to the Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves.

Min­nesota guard Ricky Ru­bio sank three free throws with 3.4 sec­onds left to give the Tim­ber­wolves the vic­tory.

RE­SULTS: Wash­ing­ton 119 LA Lak­ers 108, Port­land 122 Den­ver 113, Golden State 113 Houston 106, Philadel­phia 106 Brook­lyn 101, At­lanta 95 Phoenix 91, Mi­ami 97 Detroit 96, Mil­wau­kee 118 Char­lotte 108, Min­nesota 115 In­di­ana 114. AFP

EPA PIC

War­riors’ James Michael McA­doo (left) tries to block Rock­ets’ James Har­den’s shot in their NBA match at the Toy­ota Cen­tre in Houston, Texas on Tues­day.

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