Basketball: Clippers cooked by another Curry special

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry dribbling past Los Angeles Clippers guards Avery Bradley and Patrick Beverley (No. 21) on Sunday. Curry scored 42 points, including the game winner with half a second left, to help the Warriors overcome a hist
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry dribbling past Los Angeles Clippers guards Avery Bradley and Patrick Beverley (No. 21) on Sunday. Curry scored 42 points, including the game winner with half a second left, to help the Warriors overcome a historic 18-of-23 shooting night for the Clippers from beyond the arc to win 129-127.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Stephen Curry may or may not believe in the moon landing, but he can certainly fly up and down a basketball court.

His teammates had ribbed him by placing an astronaut-themed bobble-head box in his locker prior to their National Basketball Association game with the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, after his recent remarks suggesting the Apollo 11 mission was a hoax.

But it was no laughing matter for the visitors on Sunday after Curry torched them for 42 points, including the game-winning lay-up with 0.5 second left on the shot clock.

Not only was it the 30-year-old's second-highest scoring game of an injury-disrupted season, but it was also his seventh career buzzer-beater and his first since his heroics at the Dallas Mavericks in January.

Curry's persistence despite Clippers guard Patrick Beverley's best efforts to rile him up helped the Warriors overcome their opponents' blistering 18-of-23 shooting from beyond the arc for a 129-127 win at the Oracle Arena.

He told reporters after their eighth win in 10 games: "It was a great way to finish. Teams get hot and we have slip-ups. We just have to figure out how to weather the storm and get the win."

Kevin Durant, who also had a monster night with 35 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, hailed his teammate for "getting it going".

He said: "We wanted to keep feeding him (Curry) and make it easy for us. The last play was phenomenal."

The nine-time All-Star felt that the Warriors' early-season hiccups - the team are second in the Western Conference after improving to 23-11 - would put them in good stead as the champions chase a fourth NBA crown in five seasons.

He added: "I like the groove we're in. That experience of playing in some tight games. That's going to help us down the stretch."

While Curry did not play when the Clippers beat the Warriors in overtime earlier this term, Beverley did not think he was the difference-maker as "we could have, and we should have, won today".

His team (19-14) shot 81.2 per cent from three-point range in the first half, going 13 for 16, as they set a league and franchise record for highest long-range percentage in a half, but the Warriors' accuracy from the line, nailing 31 from 36, kept them in the game.

Beverley had a heated second-quarter exchange with Curry that led to technical fouls for both, but he later claimed the flare-up was "going to stay basketball".

Steve Kerr's players will meet LeBron James' Lakers in Oakland today in what will be the 14-time All-Star's first visit to the Warriors' home court since signing for Los Angeles in the summer.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2018, with the headline 'Clippers cooked by another Curry special'. Print Edition | Subscribe