LOS ANGELES: Stephen Curry scored 35 points and Kevin Durant had 30 as the Golden State Warriors won their ninth straight home game with a 125-117 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
The Warriors helped seal the victory with a 34 second burst in the final quarter that included a Curry three pointer, a Shaun Livingston dunk and a Draymond Green block.
“We are on a mission to do great things this year,” said Curry. “I played a great game tonight. I have to keep doing my job and hopefully we will be in a great position at the end of the year.”
Despite not having injured star point guard Damian Lillard for the fifth straight game, the Trail Blazers were still able to make the Warriors work for the NBA victory in front of a crowd of 19,600 at Oakland’s Oracle Arena.
CJ McCollum matched Curry’s 35-point performance as the Trail Blazers closed to within 113-107 with just under five minutes to go before a turnover and missed shot prevented them from getting closer.
The Warriors pushed the lead to eight when Livingston got behind the Portland defence for a dunk with 3:43 remaining.
Then Curry drained his fifth three-pointer of the night, extending the Golden State lead to 118-107 with just 3:09 to go.
Portland never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Curry hit 12 of his 25 shots en route to his ninth 30-point game of the season and Durant shot nine-of-16 from the floor as Golden State shot 50.6 percent as a team.
Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo drained a step-back jumper as time expired to lift the Milwaukee Bucks to a 105-104 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Milwaukee’s standout Greek forward made the first game-winning shot of his 3 1/2-year NBA career.
He posted his 16th double-double of the season with 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who improved to 18-16.
His streak of 13 straight games with 20 or more points is the longest by a Milwaukee player since Michael Redd had 14 in a row in 2006.
Lance Thomas did all he could to defend the shot, but after dribbling through traffic and turning, Antetokounmpo managed to make some space and seal the win for a Bucks team that had battled back from a 16-point third-quarter deficit.
“I work on that shot a lot,” Antetokounmpo said. “I was patient. I knew I could shoot the ball over the top of anybody at any time. I wanted to make sure I took the last shot.”
Antetokounmpo’s teammates mobbed him in celebration, and Bucks coach Jason Kidd said the final moment was a team effort.
“The guy who makes the shot gets all the credit, but passing the ball, getting the ball to Giannis is important,” Kidd said.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 30 points and 11 rebounds, but the Knicks, who were without injured big man Kristaps Porzingis for a third straight game, lost their sixth straight.
Butler powers Bulls
In Cleveland, Jimmy Butler scored 14 points in the fourth quarter after a slow start and the Chicago Bulls held on to beat the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers 106-94.
LeBron James had 31 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while playing 37 minutes despite battling an illness.
Cleveland were also without Kevin Love (food poisoning) and Kyrie Irving (right hamstring).
Butler, who scored 52 points two nights ago, took awhile to get going. But he scored 10 straight points for the Bulls during one stretch of the fourth quarter and finished with 20 points.
In Los Angeles, Austin Rivers scored a game-high 28 points and the Los Angeles Clippers earned a 115-106 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center.