Thompson, Curry rally Warriors to force game 7 with Thunder
Washington (AFP) –
Klay Thompson and NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry sparked a stunning fourth-quarter rally as Golden State beat host Oklahoma City 108-101 to avoid NBA playoff elimination.
Thompson scored a career playoff high 41 points, including an NBA one-game playoff record 11 3-pointers in 18 attempts, and Curry added 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Warriors leveled the best-of-seven Western Conference final at three wins each.
"I'm so proud of everybody," Thompson said. "We were down almost the whole game. We never gave up and our resiliency got us through. We kept our composure. We knew if we didn't get it done we were going home. It was a great win."
The winner of Monday's game seven at Oakland will advance to the NBA Finals, facing the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers when the best-of-seven championship series opens Thursday.
"This group has been very resilient," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "They will bounce back quickly and go out and play."
Trailing 89-81 with nine minutes remaining, the Warriors closed the game with a 27-12 run -- 19-5 over the final seven minutes and 12-2 in the last three -- to deny the Thunder the clincher for a second consecutive game.
"This game was probably the hardest of our lives," Curry said. "We felt like we had control of the game. We just needed a stop or two. They got some garbage, the ball bouncing their way. We felt like we could turn the game around, and we did.
"We've got to keep it going at home. We've got a great opportunity."
Kevin Durant scored 29 points while Russell Westbrook added 28 to lead Oklahoma City, but crumbled in the tension-packed final moments, Durant making four of his five turnovers in the final 99 seconds and Westbrook giving up the ball on two key late possessions.
"We just didn't help each other enough in those situations," Donovan said. "They made big plays coming down the stretch and coming down the stretch we got a little stagnant."
The Warriors, who produced the best regular season mark in NBA history at 73-9 in this campaign, kept poise down the stretch and showed why they are the champions.
"That's just who they have been winning 73 games," Donovan said.
Thompson's amazing 3-point shooting in the final minutes stole the show, shocking teammates and foes alike, including Curry, who this year set an NBA record for 3-pointers in a season.
"It was unbelievable," Curry said. "He was taking shots in rhythm. That's when he's at his best. We needed every single one of them. We will again on Monday."
"In the fourth quarter, Klay Thompson had a great shooting performance," Donovan said. "Some of those shots were closely defended. Some of them were from way deep. They just knocked down big shots."
© 2016 AFP