Stephen Curry rebounded from his lowest-scoring game of the season with one of his best, bombing in a game-high 40 points Friday night as the Golden State Warriors outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-114 at Oakland, Calif., in a rematch of the past four NBA Finals. The victory allowed the Warriors (55-24) to move within one win of clinching the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs, which start next weekend.
The Warriors swept the Cavaliers, then led by LeBron James, in last season's Finals. In sweeping the season series from the Cavaliers for the second consecutive season, the Warriors led wire-to-wire but saw a 21-point lead shrink to 115-112 with 2:52 to play.
Cleveland then had a chance to tie, but Collin Sexton misfired on a 3-point attempt. When Curry countered at the other end with his ninth trey of the game, the Warriors had enough breathing room to coast home for a fourth straight win.
After having been limited to seven points in a road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, Curry came out firing against the Cavaliers, scoring 18 points in the first quarter. His seeing run of nine straight games with at least five 3-pointers end with a 1-for-9 outing against the Lakers, Curry shot 9-for-12 from beyond the arc against the Cavaliers.
Along the way, he passed Paul Arizin (16,266) for third place on the Warriors' all-time scoring list, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain (17,783) and Rick Barry (16,447). Curry ended the night with 16,283 points. The 40-point game was the eighth of the season for Curry, who had 42 in Golden State's win at Cleveland in December.
Draymond Green backed Curry with 20 points, and Kevin Durant had 15 points, Quinn Cook 14 and Klay Thompson 11 for the Warriors, who outshot the Cavaliers 52.9 per cent to 44.3 per cent and outscored them 60-21 on 3-pointers. Sexton, the third-leading scorer among rookies this season, bounced back from a 1-for-8 first half to spearhead the Cleveland rally with 27 points.
He finished 10-for-21 from the field. Cedi Osman (15 points), Larry Nance Jr. (13), David Nwaba (13), Tristan Thompson (12), Ante Zizic (12) and Jordan Clarkson (10) also scored in double figures for the Cavaliers, who were completing an eight-day, five-game Western swing.
Nance completed the game's only double-double with a game-high 14 rebounds. The Cavaliers outrebounded the Warriors 48-38. Cleveland dropped all five games on the trip, extending their overall losing streak to eight games and their road skid to 11.
(With inputs from agencies.)