Basketball: Warriors beat Spurs to get edge for play-offs

San Antonio small forward Kawhi Leonard is fouled by Golden State shooting guard Klay Thompson at AT&T Centre, as centre JaVale McGee provides cover. The visitors trailed badly but rebounded to win 110-98 and could face the Spurs again in the Western
San Antonio small forward Kawhi Leonard is fouled by Golden State shooting guard Klay Thompson at AT&T Centre, as centre JaVale McGee provides cover. The visitors trailed badly but rebounded to win 110-98 and could face the Spurs again in the Western Conference semi-finals in the play-offs.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN ANTONIO • Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson led the Golden State Warriors to a 110-98 come-from-behind road victory over the San Antonio Spurs in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Wednesday.

The league-leading Warriors (61-14) - who could ultimately end up facing San Antonio (57-17) for a place in the Finals - looked to be in deep trouble as the Spurs raced to a 29-7 first-quarter lead.

But Curry and Klay Thompson led a team effort to haul the Warriors back into contention in the second quarter, gradually chipping away at San Antonio's lead to close to within three points at half-time.

The Warriors then turned on the style at the AT&T Centre. The victory hands the Oakland franchise a psychological boost as they head into the play-offs next month.

"We're on the right track," Curry said. "We don't win a championship in this game but we understand we're getting better as we get to the play-offs and that's the only focus right now. We want to keep it up."

His 29-point haul included four three-pointers, a tally matched by offensive partner Klay Thompson, who had 23 points. Andre Iguodala (14) and David West (15) also posted double-figure tallies.

  • 288

    Number of three-pointers Stephen Curry has made this season. He has surpassed his 2014-15 mark (286) for the second most threes in a single season in NBA history.

San Antonio's scoring was led by Kawhi Leonard with 19 points, while Pau Gasol had 18 points.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich did not mince his words about the quality of his team's Western Conference rivals.

"They played great, they all played great," he said. "Curry, Thompson - they all made shots. That's why they're the best team in the league."

The Warriors were without star forward Kevin Durant but they could soon welcome the eight-time NBA All-Star back from injury.

Durant, ruled out indefinitely on March 1 owing to a left knee sprain and bone bruise, may play in the final three regular-season games for the Warriors - home contests against New Orleans on April 8, Utah on April 10 and the Lakers on April 12 .

Golden State went 2-5 after the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player was sidelined but the Warriors now boast a nine-game win streak.

"Kevin has made very good progress since suffering the injury," the Warriors said in a statement. "He has not experienced any setbacks to date and has progressed as well as could be expected."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2017, with the headline 'Warriors beat Spurs to get edge for play-offs'. Print Edition | Subscribe