Streaking Warriors survive scare against slumping Suns to clinch West top seed
Steph Curry scored 42 points for the second time in the last three games for the Warriors. AP

STEPHEN Curry sizzled from the start and proved a steadying force late as the Golden State Warriors survived a scare against the Phoenix Suns, 120-111, at the Talking Stick Resort Arena on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).

Curry torched the Suns for 23 first-quarter points, including 19 straight in one stretch, as the Warriors built a 41-18 lead. But Tyler Ulis and Alan Williams led a Suns fightback in the second period, where Phoenix outscored Golden State, 34-17, to close the gap to six, 58-52, at the half.

The Suns got within four early in the third before surprise starters Pat McCaw and James McAdoo sparked an 11-2 run for the Warriors to extend the lead back to double digits, 71-58, with nine minutes to play in the period. Curry then sparked a 9-2 third quarter finish with back-to-back jumpers to take a 91-78 advantage into the fourth.

With Curry on the bench, the Warriors built a 14-point lead, 103-89, with 7:35 to go. But Jared Dudley led a 12-1 blitz to get the Suns back within three, 104-101 in a little over two minutes. Curry then stopped the bleeding for the Warriors with his eighth triple of the game, putting Golden State back up by six, 107-101, with less than four minutes to play.

The Warriors also found an unlikely hero in JaVale McGee, who scored back-to-back baskets to put Golden State ahead 116-109 with 1:13 to go. After another Williams bucket on the next play, Barnes got an offensive board off a miss by Curry, who in turn scored the dagger that sealed the Warriors 13th straight win and dealt the Suns’ 13th consecutive loss.

With the Spurs loss to the Lakers earlier, the Warriors virtually secured the NBA’s best record with a 65-14 card, four and a half games ahead of the 60-18 San Antonio team that has four outings left.

Curry finished with 42 points, his second time to end up with that tally in three games, and 11 assists. Klay Thompson added 22 markers for the Warriors, who rested Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

Devin Booker led the Suns (22-57) with 21 points, while Tyler Ulis added 20 markers. Jared Dudley fired 19 off the bench.

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