NBA: Golden State Warriors reverse slump, Kyrie Irving comes up clutch for Boston Celtics

Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (left) and Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (right) in action during the first half of the NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on Feb 8, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Kevin Durant scored 24 points and Stephen Curry added 20 on Thursday (Feb 8) as the National Basketball Association (NBA) champions Golden State Warriors snapped out of the doldrums with a 121-103 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

The Warriors had lost their last two games and three of their previous four.

They trailed Dallas by as many as 12 points, but took control in the second half to improve their league-leading record to 42-13.

Durant drained a three-pointer to cap an 8-2 run late in the third quarter that gave Golden State a 93-85 lead.

They turned it into a rout in the fourth, pushing the advantage to as many as 21 points.

There were some sloppy moments to be sure, as the Warriors coughed up 20 turnovers and there was also another technical foul for Draymond Green, who was fined US$50,000 (S$66,483) earlier on Thursday for "inappropriate and offensive" remarks to a referee over a non-call after he took an elbow to the face in Golden State's embarrassing 105-125 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

With a league-leading 14 technicals this season, Green is two away from an automatic suspension while Durant is second in technicals and head coach Steve Kerr fourth among coaches - numbers that prompted Kerr to say before the game that it's an area that needs attention.

"We all need to do a much better job of staying poised," Kerr said. And, largely, they did.

Klay Thompson added 18 points, Green contributed 12 points with 10 rebounds, six assists, two blocked shots and two steals, and David West scored 10 as the Warriors put themselves a game up on the Houston Rockets atop the Western Conference.

The Boston Celtics maintained a one-game advantage over the Toronto Raptors atop the Eastern Conference with a 110-104 overtime victory over the Wizards in Washington.

Kyrie Irving scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Celtics bounced back from a 91-111 loss to the Raptors on Tuesday.

Trailing at half-time, they emerged from a tight third quarter with a five-point lead and stretched it to as many as 10 in the fourth.

But they needed three clutch free throws from Irving, who was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all the foul shots to knot the score at 98-98 with 9.8 seconds left in regulation.

It went to overtime when Bradley Beal's tough jump shot, which was contested by Irving at the buzzer, missed.

Jaylen Brown scored five of his 18 points for Boston in overtime, when the Celtics out-scored the Wizards 12-6 to finally put the game away.

His three-pointer with 1min 43sec remaining put the Celtics up 108-103, and the Wizards wouldn't get the deficit below four points from there.

"The shot clock was going down so I took my time and shot a shot that I've been practising," Brown said of the step-back three.

"I've been working on it a lot, and it showed itself in the game."

The Portland Trail Blazers won in overtime, too, stretching their home winning streak to nine games with a 109-103 triumph over the Charlotte Hornets.

It was close in Orlando, where Evan Fournier's 22 points led the Magic in a 100-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

The Magic were also boosted by 18 points and nine assists from point guard D.J. Augustin - newly arrived from the Phoenix Suns in a trade-deadline deal.

The Los Angeles Lakers, still awaiting the arrival of their trade-deadline acquisitions Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye from the Cleveland Cavaliers, defeated the under-manned Oklahoma City Thunder 106-81.

It was their second win in five days over the Thunder - who were without injured Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 20 points, leading five Lakers in double figures. Paul George scored 29 points for Oklahoma City.

Lakers coach Luke Walton was pleased to see his young team dig in against the Thunder on a day when many were unsettled by the departure of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr in the deal with Cleveland.

Walton noted that it was the first time some of the Lakers had team-mates shipped out suddenly.

"It was pretty quiet in the film room," he said. "I didn't know how long it would take, but the energy before the game was already better."

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