Warriors, Spurs remain perfect at home
The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs needed dominant fourth quarters on Saturday to keep their impressive NBA home winning streaks alive.
Spurs guard Danny Green was an unlikely catalyst in San Antonio, where the Spurs trailed by two going into the final period but emerged with a 93-85 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Green had missed all eight of his shots before draining a go-ahead three-pointer with 7:19 left to play that ignited the Spurs’ finishing burst.
“(Green’s) a pro and we made it clear to him there’s only two outcomes — it goes in or it doesn’t,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “He still gets his paycheck. His family still loves him, so screw it, let ’em fly — and he did.”
The Spurs improved to 32-0 at home this season and have won 41 in a row dating back to last season.
In Oakland, California, the Warriors stretched their NBA record home winning streak to 48 with their 30th home win of this season, 123-116 over the struggling Phoenix Suns.
But they, too, had to rally in the fourth, overcoming a nine-point deficit after three quarters with the aid of a 14-0 fourth-quarter scoring run.
Superstar sharp-shooter Stephen Curry, who missed most of the third quarter because of foul trouble, returned to score 15 points in the final frame.
Golden State trailed 108-105 before Curry launched the decisive run with a game-tying three-pointer with 5:36 remaining.
The Suns missed their next six shots as the Warriors got a dunk by reserve center Marreese Speights, a dunk by Harrison Barnes and another three-pointer from Curry that gave the Warriors a 115-108 lead with 3:31 to play.
Draymond Green stretched the lead to nine with a driving basket and Curry made two free-throws to cap the 14-0 run.
Curry scored a game-high 35 points, making seven of 16 three-point attempts and handing out six assists.
Speights added 25 points, Klay Thompson scored 20 and Green 19 for the Warriors, who were without NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Andre Iguodala because of a sprained left ankle.
Brandon Knight led the Suns with 30 points, but Phoenix endured their third straight defeat and fell to 17-49, next-to-last in the Western Conference ahead of the lowly Los Angeles Lakers.
The Spurs, meanwhile, were up against a tough Oklahoma City team lying third in the West and trying to close the gap on second-placed San Antonio.
Instead the Thunder lost their second straight, and their fourth of six on the road.
Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 24 for the Spurs and the Thunder went the final 3:53 without a field goal and missed nine of their last 10 shots.
“San Antonio is the best defensive team in the league, and we generated a lot of good looks tonight,” said Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, who led all scorers with 28 points.
“San Antonio hit some big shots in the fourth quarter — especially Green’s shot from the corner — but we made them work for everything they got.”
– Nuggets rally past Wizards –
In Denver the Nuggets’ second-half rally included out-scoring Washington 41-17 in the fourth quarter en route to a 116-100 victory over the Wizards.
Nuggets reserves scored 75 points as Denver extended their winning streak to a season-best four games, dealing the Wizards’ playoff hopes another blow.
Washington, who led 72-62 late in the third quarter, are now three and a half games behind Detroit for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“This leaves us in a really bad position,” said Washington’s John Wall. “We just keep digging ourselves a bigger hole with 17 games left.”
– Hornets down Rockets –
The Charlotte Hornets notched their seventh straight victory, routing the Houston Rockets 125-109.
Kemba Walker scored 26 points and Marvin Williams added 25 for the Hornets, who saw a 19-point first-half lead dwindle to two in the third quarter before they rebuilt the advantage with a 17-2 scoring run.
“We just get better as the game goes on,” Walker said. “We just got locked in.”
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