STEPHEN Curry was cold all game but turned hot when it mattered as the Golden State Warriors clawed back from 16 points down to escape a thriller over the Philadelphia 76ers with a narrow win, 106-104, at the Oracle Arena on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).
Curry shot 8-of-23 from the field, 5-of-13 from beyond the arc, but scored 11 of his game-high 29 points to lead a fourth quarter rally that helped the Warriors avoid the upset ax against the Sixers and regain the NBA’s best record from the idle San Antonio Spurs after breaking a three-game slide to improve to 53-14.
Dario Saric scored seven straight points to cap a 12-0 blast that gave the Sixers a 73-62 edge with 7:47 to play in the third quarter. Philadelphia even led by as much as 16 points, 90-74, before Golden State countered with their own 12-0 rally bridging the third and fourth periods to cut the gap to four, 90-86, with 9:55 remaining in the last frame.
The Warriors finally regained control after staggering in the third, as Shaun Livingston’s basket put them on top, 93-92, with 7:33 left. Jahlil Okafor kept Philadelphia in the battle with four straight points but Curry hit his fourth triple of the game, second in the fourth period, to put Golden State back ahead, 98-96, midway through the period and set up the cardiac finish.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot hit a huge triple that got the Sixers on top, but Curry again answered with another trey to retake the lead, 101-99, with three minutes to go. After a Sixers turnover, Matt Barnes added to the Golden State advantage with a three, but Saric had a quick response with a 10-foot jumper to keep Philly within three, 104-101, at the 1:32 mark.
Luwawu-Cabarrot scored on the drive to trim down the lead to one, but fouled Draymond Green on the next possession, with the Warriors forward sinking two free throws to get back up by three, 106-103, and blocking TJ McConnell’s layup on the next play.
Saric then made up for a turnover with a steal off Green as the Sixers got the last possession with the Warriors still up by three and the clock down to eight ticks. Barnes, though, blew a layup after he swiped the McConnell pass as Green’s foul sent Saric to the stripe. The Sixers rookie sank the first free throw, and missed the second in hopes of an offensive board to extend or steal the win, but Curry got the rebound to put an end to the Warriors misery.
Klay Thompson added 28 points while Green played huge on both ends of the floor with 20 markers, eight rebounds, eight assists, six blocks, and four steals.
Saric led the Sixers (24-43) with 25 points, while Okafor had 16 of his 22 markers in the first half.