The defending NBA champions aren’t going down without a fight.
Stephen Curry scored 36 points, Andrew Wiggins added 20 points and Kevon Looney grabbed 20 rebounds to help the Golden State Warriors beat the Sacramento Kings 114-97 on Thursday night in Game 3 of their Western Conference playoff series.
Playing without Draymond Green, who was suspended one game, the Warriors avoided falling behind 3-0 in the best-of-seven series.
“We’re a team with a lot of pride, we know how to respond when our back’s against the wall, we always usually show up,” Looney said. “I think Draymond knew that. Without him playing he knew how we were going to respond. He knew he could count on us to hold down the fort while he’s out. We’re excited to get him back next game.”
Curry made six 3-pointers and the Warriors led the game from start to finish. They’ll try to even the series at 2-2 on Sunday at home in San Francisco.
“I like the momentum that we created tonight, we just got to take advantage of it,” Curry said. “Pretty bluntly if we lost this game it’s pretty much over.”
De’Aaron Fox led the Kings with 26 points and Harrison Barnes added 17 points.
“You have to understand that these guys aren’t going to lay down,” Barnes said. “They have a lot of pride. They’ve won a championship.”
SUNS WIN ‘TRICK GAME’
In Los Angeles, Devin Booker scored 45 points, Kevin Durant had 28 and the Phoenix Suns defeated the Clippers 129-124 to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference playoff series.
The Clippers were missing star Kawhi Leonard, who sat out with a sprained right knee. Fellow star Paul George hasn’t played since March 21 because of a similar injury.
“Those are those trick games, where you think somebody is missing one of their top players and you let off the gas a little bit,” Booker said. “They played their [backs] off tonight. The whole team was prepared for that so we didn’t take a step back.”
Booker credited Durant’s presence for helping him get better shots on the court. The Clippers double-teamed Durant often, freeing up Booker.
“A lot of the buckets I scored, I went to him right after and said, ‘You opened that up for me,’” Booker said. “I expect the Clippers to make adjustments and it’ll be his turn to play.”
Norman Powell led the Clippers with 42 points in Leonard’s absence and Russell Westbrook added 30 points and 11 assists.
Game 4 is Saturday in Los Angeles. Leonard could return for that one.
SIXERS TAKE 3-0 SERIES LEAD
In Brooklyn, Tyrese Maxey made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 44 seconds left and Joel Embiid blocked a potential tying shot with 8.8 seconds left to help the Philadelphia 76ers take a 3-0 series lead over the Nets with a 102-97 victory.
Maxey finished with 25 points and James Harden had 21 for the 76ers before he was ejected for a flagrant foul. Embiid had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“Tonight, when our ballhandler, our leader went out, take that role in the fourth quarter and help us get into our stuff, help us win the game,” Maxey said.
Embiid got away with kicking a player in the groin and wasn’t ejected. He was given a flagrant 1 that didn’t warrant being kicked out of the game.
After Nic Claxton dunked, Embiid fell to the court after fouling him. When Claxton slowly stepped over him, Embiid kicked up his leg into Claxton’s upper leg area.
“You could see what the game plan was. Got to hit him, try to make me frustrated so I could get ejected,” Embiid said. “So, I’m too mature to put myself in a position where I’m going to be ejected, so I just went about my business and we got the win.”
The Sixers can sweep the series Saturday in Brooklyn.