Golden State’s two key men made timely bids for inclusion in the NBA All-Star game with powerful performances in the Warriors 104-99 win over the league-leading Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
On the eve of the announcement for the All-Star reserves, Stephen Curry had 31 points and seven assists while David Lee finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds for Golden State.
In other key games, Denver pulled away in the third quarter against a sloppy Houston, San Antonio overcame two key absences to beat New Orleans and notch a 15th straight home win, while Portland arrested a six-game skid and beat Indiana, dropping the Pacers out of the Central Division lead.
Golden State’s Curry stole a pass from the Thunder’s leading man Kevin Durant in the final seconds and hit a pair of free throws to seal the Warriors’ third straight victory.
Durant had 33 points, nine assists and five rebounds for the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s lead over San Antonio at the top of the standings was sliced to zero games, ahead only on percentage.
The Spurs overcame the absence of the injured Tim Duncan and ill coach Gregg Popovich to beat the New Orleans Hornets 106-102.
Tony Parker had 24 points and 13 assists while Tiago Splitter added 25 points and seven rebounds.
The Denver Nuggets made the most of Houston’s myriad mistakes to beat the Rockets 105-95.
Ty Lawson scored 21 points and Wilson Chandler had 20 for the hosts, who took command with a 21-5 burst late in the third quarter. The Nuggets converted 28 points off 23 Houston turnovers and beat the Rockets for the fifth straight time.
James Harden scored 23 points for Houston, who have lost eight of their past nine.
The Portland Trail Blazers, who had lost their previous four home games, arrested the slide with a 100-80 win over the Indiana Pacers.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and rookie gaurd Damian Lillard added 20 points and eight assists for the Trail Blazers.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ miserable season continued with a 106-93 defeat at the Memphis Grizzlies.
Darrell Arthur scored 20 points and Mike Conley added 19 for Memphis.
Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez also strengthened his All-Star claims by leading the Nets to a 91-83 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He had 22 points on 10-for-16 shooting.
The Miami Heat came from 15 points down at home to beat the Toronto Raptors 123-116 in overtime, while the Chicago Bulls put in a furious fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Detroit Pistons 85-82.
In other games, the Atlanta Hawks snapped a six-game losing skid in road games by beating the Charlotte Bobcats 104-92; the Utah Jazz held off the fast-finishing Washington Wizards to win 92-88, and the Phoenix Suns won their first game under new coach Lindsey Hunter, beating the Sacramento Kings 106-96.