WAR­RIORS STAGE AMAZ­ING COME­BACK

Curry ral­lies team­mates as Ok­la­homa’s triple-king West­brook sets record

New Straits Times - - Sport -

STEPHEN Curry and Klay Thomp­son led the Golden State War­riors to a mag­nif­i­cent come-frombe­hind vic­tory over the San An­to­nio Spurs on Wed­nes­day on a record-break­ing night for Ok­la­homa City’s Russell West­brook.

Curry and Thomp­son — the fa­bled “Splash Broth­ers” of the War­riors of­fence — com­bined for 52 points as the Dubs over­turned a 29-7 deficit to se­cure a 110-98 win over their Western Con­fer­ence ri­vals.

The win saw Golden State tighten their grip on the top seed po­si­tion in the con­fer­ence stand­ings, im­prov­ing to 61-14 as sec­ond-placed San An­to­nio slipped to 57-17.

The War­riors vic­tory hands the Oak­land fran­chise a psy­cho­log­i­cal boost as they head into the play­offs next month, where they could ul­ti­mately face San An­to­nio for a place in the NBA Fi­nals.

“We’re on the right track,” Curry said.

“We don’t win a cham­pi­onship in this game but we un­der­stand we’re get­ting bet­ter as we get to the play­offs and that’s re­ally the only fo­cus right now. We want to keep it up.”

Curry fin­ished with 29 points while Thomp­son weighed in with 23. An­dre Iguo­dala (14) and David West (15) also posted dou­ble figure tal­lies for the Dubs.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was blunt in his as­sess­ment of the game, de­scrib­ing the War­riors as the best team in the NBA.

“They played great, they all played great,” Popovich said. “They just played bet­ter. Curry, Thomp­son — they all made shots. That’s why they’re the best team in the league.”

In Or­lando mean­while, Ok­la­homa star West­brook was feted with loud chants of “MVP, MVP” by Or­lando Magic fans af­ter an elec­tri­fy­ing per­for­mance.

West­brook fin­ished with 57 points, 13 re­bounds and 11 as­sists as the Thun­der rolled to a 114-106 win in over­time at Or­lando’s Amway Cen­tre.

It was West­brook’s fourth con­sec­u­tive triple-dou­ble and his 38th of an in­cred­i­ble sea­son. It also set a new record as the high­est-scor­ing triple-dou­ble in NBA his­tory.

The 28-year-old is now just three shy of equalling Os­car Robert­son’s long­stand­ing NBA record for triple-dou­bles in a sin­gle sea­son.

The win helped the Thun­der im­prove to 43-31 while the Magic are now at 27-48 af­ter a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive de­feat.

West­brook said his hunger to scale new heights had in­spired him.

“You just got to want it more than other peo­ple,” West­brook said. “I don’t think about get­ting tired. I just keep go­ing and go­ing. I don’t think about it. I just think about mak­ing the next play, mak­ing win­ning bas­ket­ball plays. I’m blessed.”

The high­light of West­brook’s mas­ter­class was a dev­as­tat­ing late burst of scor­ing which saw him net 19 points in the fi­nal six min­utes of reg­u­la­tion time, drain­ing a three-pointer with seven sec­onds re­main­ing to send the game into over­time.

“Russell was spec­tac­u­lar com­ing down the stretch and the way he closed the game,” Thun­der coach Billy Dono­van said. “Over­all, it’s just in­cred­i­ble what he’s do­ing now. He played an ex­cep­tional sec­ond half again. He just has an in­cred­i­ble com­pet­i­tive spirit.”

Magic coach Frank Vo­gel ranked West­brook’s dis­play as one of the great­est in his­tory.

“That (West­brook’s per­for­mance) was one of the best,” Magic coach Frank Vo­gel said. “It’s tough to rank those over the years, but it’s right up there with the best. Give him credit.”

In the East­ern Con­fer­ence, Boston were knocked off top spot af­ter slip­ping to a 103-100 win against the Mil­wau­kee Bucks.

Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo scored 22 points as the Bucks dug in for an im­por­tant win.

“They’re re­ally good,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “They’ve been one of the best teams in the East over the past month and a half. I’m not sur­prised at their level, and their level is re­ally high.”

RE­SULTS — LA Clip­pers 133 Wash­ing­ton 124, Utah 112 Sacra­mento 82, Golden State 110 San An­to­nio 98, Mem­phis 110 In­di­ana 97, New Orleans 121 Dallas 118, Mil­wau­kee 103 Boston 100, Char­lotte 110 Toronto 106, Mi­ami 105 NY Knicks 88, At­lanta 99 Philadel­phia 92, Ok­la­homa City 114 Or­lando 106 (OT).

EPA PIC

War­riors’ Stephen Curry (right) at­tempts a lay-up as Spurs’ De­wayne Ded­mon de­fends in their NBA match at the AT&T Cen­tre in San An­to­nio, Texas on Wed­nes­day.

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