Gallant comeback as Warriors eye history

Stephen Curry (No. 30) scores for the Golden State Warriors against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. He scored 40 points in the 124-117 victory after the Warriors trailed by 23 points in the first half and said their 13th consecutive win was a "
Stephen Curry (No. 30) scores for the Golden State Warriors against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. He scored 40 points in the 124-117 victory after the Warriors trailed by 23 points in the first half and said their 13th consecutive win was a "hard-fought, gut-wrenching game". PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • The Golden State Warriors erased a 23-point first-half deficit to stretch their National Basketball Association (NBA) season-opening win streak to 13 games on Thursday with a 124-117 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The reigning NBA champions became just the fifth team in the league's history to open a season 13-0 and continued to close in on the record for the best start to a season of 15-0 - achieved by Washington Capitols in 1948-49 and the Houston Rockets in 1993-94.

But it was a close-run win, as the pumped-up Clippers raced to a big lead over their Pacific Division rivals, led by point guard Chris Paul.

Paul, back in action after two games sidelined by a groin strain, made his first seven shots, including three from three-point range.

He finished the game with 35 points and eight assists.

But Golden State, who trailed 32-55 early in the second quarter, battled back, with reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry scoring 13 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter.

"No matter how bad we're playing, we always feel like we have a shot," said Curry, who also had 11 rebounds. "It was a hard-fought, gut-wrenching game (and) everybody stepped up and played well."

Guard Klay Thompson scored 25 points for the Warriors.

Harrison Barnes added 21 and forward Draymond Green contributed 19 points and nine assists.

Trailing 85-91 going into the fourth quarter, the Warriors shot 73.3 per cent from the field in the final period.

A three-pointer by Thompson gave the Warriors their first lead since the beginning of the first quarter - 113-112 with 2:43 to play.

The Clippers responded with a three-pointer by Jamal Crawford before Curry drained a three-pointer with 1:47 remaining that gave the Warriors a 116-115 lead that they would not relinquish.

The Warriors outscored the Clippers 22-5 in the final stretch but Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the problems began long before that.

"I don't think it started in the fourth quarter, I really don't," he said. "I thought right at the end of the second quarter was when we stopped playing with the same force that we played with (in) the first quarter and a half."

It was the Warriors' second win of the season over the Clippers, after a 112-108 triumph on Nov 4.

"Like I said before the game, we know we're close but close isn't good enough," Rivers said.

"You've got to finish the games."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2015, with the headline 'Gallant comeback as Warriors eye history'. Print Edition | Subscribe