Basketball: Not-so-golden Warriors squeak past lowly 76ers

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) runs into trouble against Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington (33) in Philadelphia.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) runs into trouble against Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington (33) in Philadelphia.PHOTO: REUTERS

PHILADELPHIA (AFP) - Golden State's Harrison Barnes drained a three-pointer with two-tenths of a second left Saturday to lift the Warriors to a 108-105 victory over the 76ers in a duel of the NBA's best and worst in Philadelphia.

Up by 24 midway through the third period and by 15 with 5:42 remaining, the reigning champion Warriors appeared headed for a predictable win over the lowly 76ers.

But they had to fight to the wire to improve to 43-4, matching the 1966-67 76ers for best 47-game start in NBA history while the current Sixers fell to 7-41.

While Philadelphia's feisty fight-back fell short, it lent drama to a night on which the marquee match-up between Cleveland - who met the Warriors in the NBA Finals last year - and the San Antonio Spurs belonged entirely to the Cavaliers.

Uptempo offence has been the Warriors' calling card. But their inability to take care of the ball on Saturday almost cost them against the 76ers.

"We probably should have lost," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after his team coughed up 23 turnovers.

"If the gods delivered what should have happened, we probably should have lost, because that's what happens when you mess around with the game and the ball."

As it was, Kerr added, "Harrison bailed us out." A 20-5 late 76ers scoring run included seven points from guard Ish Smith.

Smith's steal and breakaway dunk with 22.3 seconds left knotted the score at 105-105.

On the final Warriors' possession, guard Stephen Curry fired a pass from the right wing to forward Draymond Green at the top of the circle.

He found Barnes in the right corner for the winning three-pointer.

"He always shoots a tremendous percentage from the corner," Green said of Barnes. "It's like a layup for him."

Guard Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 32 points. Curry finished with 23 points, while Green contributed 10 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists - and shouldered the blame for the near-upset saying he got carried away "chasing a triple-double".