Warriors, Spurs battle to remain unbeaten at home

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LOS ANGELES: Klay Thompson drove for a go-ahead basket with 15.6 seconds left in overtime on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as the Golden State Warriors kept their NBA home winning streak alive with a bruising 111-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

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The Warriors improved to 16-0 at home this season, and posted their 34th straight win at Oracle Arena in Oakland, a streak stretching back to last season.

They aren’t the only team dominating on their home floor, and the San Antonio Spurs became just the third Western Conference team ever to open a season 20-0 at home with a 121-103 victory over the Houston Rockets.

But the Warriors and Spurs had to battle to keep their streaks alive.

In Oakland, a Warriors team missing five injured players were buoyed by the return from injury of Stephen Curry and exploded for a 37-13 first-quarter lead.

But the Nuggets outscored them in each of the next three quarters, the Warriors unable to keep them at bay after Curry departed at halftime having aggravated his bruised left shin.

Power forward Draymond Green helped fill the void with a triple double of 29 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists.

Thompson, who finished with 16 points, rolled in his go-ahead basket in overtime after Denver forward Kenneth Faried buried a contested shot to knot the score at 108-108 with 33.3 seconds left in the extra session.

Faried was then injured in a collision with teammate Will Barton.

He missed the final seconds and was taken from courtside on a stretcher after the contest ended with his neck in a brace—raising his arm and giving a “thumbs up” as he was wheeled away.

Barton, who forced overtime with a driving bank shot, had two chances to tie the game in the last seven seconds of overtime.

But he missed a running five-footer and after Thompson had stretched Golden State’s lead to 111-108 with two free throws Barton was off-target with a last-gasp three-point attempt at the buzzer.

“We stuck together,” Green said of the win. “When stuff started going wrong, nobody fought and nobody complained to each other. We just stuck together.”

Spurs down Rockets
Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds and guard Danny Green broke out of a shooting slump with six three-pointers for San Antonio, who have now won 29 straight games at home dating back to last season.

The Spurs broke open a close game that saw eight first-half lead changes with a 26-5 scoring run in the third quarter.

Forward Kawhi Leonard added 23 points and played suffocating defense on Houston guard James Harden, holding one of the NBA’s leading scorers to one point in the second half.

With the win the Spurs improved to 29-6 and avenged their most recent defeat—a Christmas loss in Houston.

Veteran forward Tim Duncan returned to action after sitting out three games and posted a dubious career first — failing to score a point for the first time in his 1,598-game regular-season and playoff career.

Kings coach Karl climbing
The Sacramento Kings’ 142-119 victory over the struggling Phoenix Suns gave coach George Karl his 1,155th NBA victory, tying him with Phil Jackson for fifth on the NBA’s all-time list.

“That’s good, it’s awesome for him,” Kings guard Darren Collison said. “He’s one of the best coaches this league has to offer. It’s good for George. He deserves it.”

Center DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 32 points, nine rebounds and three steals as Sacramento snapped a three-game losing streak with their highest-scoring game of the season.

Cavs dominate Magic
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers dealt Orlando another big defeat, manhandling the Magic 104-79.

Cleveland has now handed the Magic their three worst defeats of this season: 117-103 in November and 111-76 three weeks ago.

James scored 29 points, connecting on 11 of 18 shots from the field and four of seven from three-point range.

With three assists he passed Nate “Tiny” Archibald for 21st on the NBA’s all-time assists list with 6,478.

AFP

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