Warriors rally, cool off Thunder

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 24, 2013
Stephen Curry had 31 points and seven assists, David Lee finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors outlasted the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-99 on Wednesday night. On the eve of the announcement for All-Star reserves, Golden State's top two candidates made a lasting impression. Curry matched Kevin Durant's spectacular scores all game, stole a pass from the Thunder's leading man in the final seconds and hit a pair of free throws to seal Golden State's third straight victory. Lee helped the Warriors outrebound Oklahoma City's lengthy frontline 40-39 and made some big plays late. Durant had 33 points, nine assists and five rebounds, and Kevin Martin scored 16 points for the Thunder, who blew an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter a night after running away with a win at the Los Angeles Clippers. Oklahoma City had won seven of eight to move to the top of the NBA standings. Once again, the surprising Warriors showed they are no fluke out West this season. Lee found Carl Landry slicing through the lane for a dunk, Klay Thompson hit a running hook and Landry put back his own miss to give Golden State a 97-94 lead with 2:25 remaining. Kendrick Perkins tipped in a rebound on the other end before Jarrett Jack swished in a high-arching shot over Durant near the top of the key to put the Warriors ahead by three again. Durant answered back with a pair of free throws, only to watch Lee's layup extend Golden State's lead once more. Durant hit one of two free throws to slice Golden State's lead to 101-99, then Curry missed an open 3-pointer to give the Thunder a chance with 17.5 seconds to play. Durant caught the inbounds pass on the right side and tried to slip a quick pass to Perkins in the paint. Instead, Curry intercepted and was fouled, making both free throws to put the Warriors ahead by four with 12.4 seconds left. Curry also outplayed Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who is likely headed for an All-Star selection. Westbrook had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists while shooting 3 of 16 from the floor, including 0 of 5 from beyond the arc. Golden State hasn't had an All-Star since Latrell Sprewell in 1997. That drought might end as soon as Thursday, when the NBA announces the reserves, which are voted on by coaches. Even with all of Oklahoma City's length and quickness, Curry often made the game seem like his own layup line. Curry sliced and shook through the lane to convert three straight layups, capping the brief burst with a no-look reverse off his left hand. The Warriors were outshot 60 to 47 percent in the first quarter, though they still led 27-26 in large part because of six turnovers by Oklahoma City. Durant stayed on the offensive and pushed the pace. He got past Landry for an uncontested dunk after the Warriors forward tweaked his ankle preparing to defend Durant, who also made a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws during a 10-3 run that put the Thunder ahead 45-38 midway through the second quarter. Durant and Curry continued to dazzle for their teams in the second half, each with a spectacular score on one end only to have the other come back even stronger. At one point, the 6-foot-9 Durant covered the diminutive point guard, chasing him around screens all over the perimeter. No matter. Curry kept on coming, and so did the Warriors, who went up 72-68 when Curry banked in a shot while getting fouled by Westbrook to start a three-point play in the third quarter. Curry shook his shoulder in celebration, not quite the shimmy his coach, Mark Jackson, often displayed during his playing days - but close. Notes: Jackson said he'd like to see the NBA use a combination of votes from fans, players and coaches to fill out the All-Star rosters. ''It's not just picking on anyone in particular, so take it the right way, but the Lakers should not have two starters in the All-Star game,'' Jackson said, referring to Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant. As of now, fans select starters and coaches vote for reserves. ... Oklahoma City is 6-3 on the second night of back-to-back games this season. ... The Thunder are 2-2 on their season-long six-game trip.
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