(REUTERS) – The Golden State Warriors tightened the defensive screws in the fourth quarter and Stephen Curry saved 20 of his game-high 40 points for the final 12 minutes, as the Western Conference front runners rallied from a 13-point deficit to defeat the host Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89 on Thursday (Nov 18) night.
Seeking a ninth win in their last 10 National Basketball Association (NBA) games, the Warriors began the fourth period down 81-68 before holding the Cavaliers without a point for the first 5min 40sec of the quarter.
In the meantime, Curry poured in 13 points, including three three-pointers, and brother-in-law Damion Lee added a pair of two-point hoops in a 17-0 flurry that flipped the visitors into an 85-81 lead.
A three-point play by Darius Garland temporarily stopped the Cavaliers’ bleeding and made it a one-point game, but Curry added seven more points, Juan Toscano-Anderson seven and Lee five in a 19-5 finish.
The Cavaliers missed their first six shots of the period and mixed in five turnovers in the lead-losing drought. Garland had the team’s only two hoops in a period in which the hosts were outscored 36-8.
Curry’s 40 points featured 9-for-16 shooting on three-pointers. The Warriors (13-2) made 15 threes in the game, six in the fourth period.
Garland paced the Cavaliers with 25 points, shooting 10-for-22 overall and 4-for-11 on three-pointers.
Dean Wade and Kevin Love chipped in with 17 points each for the Cavaliers, who lost their third in a row as they continued to play without Evan Mobley and Collin Sexton.
Meanwhile, Rudy Gay played his first game of the season and scored 20 points in his Utah debut to help lead his new team to 119-103 win over Toronto in Salt Lake City.
Gay, who had off-season surgery to remove bone spurs from his heel, hit 7 of 8 shots and drained five three-pointers off the bench. He signed with Utah in the close season but was rehabilitating for the first month of the season.
Donovan Mitchell also scored 20 points for Utah, who won their second consecutive game. Toronto, playing without O.G. Anunoby (hip), lost for the sixth time in seven outings despite getting 31 points and five three-pointers from Gary Trent Jr.
In another NBA game, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Minnesota cruised past San Antonio 115-90 in Minneapolis.
D’Angelo Russell added 22 points for Minnesota, who earned their second victory in as many nights. Malik Beasley scored 15 points off the bench while draining 5 of 11 shots from beyond the three-point arc.
Elsewhere, Tyrese Maxey scored 22 points, Stephen Curry’s younger brother Seth had 20 and visiting Philadelphia beat Denver 103-89 to snap a five-game losing streak.
Tobias Harris scored 17, Shake Milton and Charles Bassey had 12 apiece and Georges Niang scored 11 for the short-handed 76ers (9-7). Joel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle remain sidelined after testing positive for Covid-19.
Nikola Jokic had 30 points and 10 rebounds, Will Barton scored 19 points and Monte Morris finished with 11 points for the Nuggets.
Ja Morant compiled 28 points, five rebounds and five assists and Brandon Clarke keyed a fourth-quarter run that powered Memphis past the visiting Los Angeles Clippers 120-108.
Clarke scored 10 of his 14 points off the bench in the fourth quarter. Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson Jr both finished with 18 points, and Desmond Bane added 16.
Paul George led all Clippers players with 23 points, Reggie Jackson added 18 points with five assists, and Ivica Zubac had 13 points and seven rebounds.
Jimmy Butler scored 32 points and Bam Adebayo added 20 points and nine rebounds, as Miami extended their winning streak to four games, beating visiting Washington 112-97.
Butler added five assists and four steals, and Gabe Vincent chipped in a season-high 18 points in 25 minutes off the Miami bench. P.J. Tucker scored 15 points.
Bradley Beal scored 30 points to lead Washington, who have lost two straight following a five-game winning streak. Kyle Kuzma recorded 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
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