LOS ANGELES: Stephen Curry scored 13 of his 28 points in overtime as the NBA champion Golden State Warriors edged the Lakers 127-123 in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Curry struggled from three-point range for much of the night, going one-of-seven from beyond the arc before starting overtime with back-to-back three-pointers.
That put the Warriors up 115-109, and two days after their shock defeat by the Sacramento Kings, they held on for the win.
The Warriors, who were without Curry and Kevin Durant in the loss to Sacramento, haven’t lost back-to-back games this season – but they were less than impressive in maintaining that record.
Head coach Steve Kerr admitted that after two titles in three successive trips to the NBA Finals, the Warriors aren’t always showing their “killer instinct”.
“Our guys are competitive, so when we lose we tend to get a little angry,” he said. “It’s more challenging this year than it has been the last few years. They haven’t been getting quite as angry this year as they have in the last few years.”
The score was knotted at 84-84 to start the fourth quarter, and the lead changed hands five times in the period.
Durant, who led the Warriors with 29 points, pulled Golden State level with a three-pointer with 46 seconds left in regulation, and both teams missed shots as it went to overtime.
As the reigning champions clawed out their victory, the current Western Conference leaders Houston rolled to a sixth straight win, a 118-97 home victory over the Indiana Pacers.
James Harden scored 29 points with eight rebounds and 10 assists for the Rockets despite struggling early with his long-range shot.
Harden missed his first six three-point attempts before finally converting from beyond the arc in the third quarter.
Two more three-pointers quickly followed as the Rockets pulled away.
Houston finished November with a 12-1 record, with two six-game winning streaks bracketing a lone home defeat to the Toronto Raptors on November 14.
Harden said they don’t intend to let up.
“We’re never satisfied,” Harden said. “Right now we’re playing pretty well. We’re going to go on the road and continue what we’ve been doing.”
The San Antonio Spurs, third in the West, were fuelled by 41 points from LaMarcus Aldridge as they handed the Memphis Grizzlies a ninth straight defeat, 104-95.
Aldridge notched his fourth game with 30-plus points this season, coming up just three points shy of his regular-season career high of 44 points.
“It feels good – I’m taking my time and finding my shots and trying to make the other guys better,” said Aldridge, who connected on 17 of 24 from the field.
In Orlando, Aaron Gordon scored 40 points to help the Magic snap a nine-game losing streak with a 121-108 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Gordon’s second career 40-point game included six three-pointers. He also pulled down 15 rebounds.
“We were tired of the losing that kills your spirit,” Gordon said. “So we went out and played like we wanted this one.”
In the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 115-86 win over the Miami Heat.
Enes Kanter scored 22 points for the Knicks, who got a scare when Latvian forward Kristaps Porziņģis exited in the opening minutes with what was diagnosed as a sprained right ankle.
In Philadelphia, 76ers rookie Ben Simmons scored 31 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in a 118-113 victory over the Washington Wizards.
He connected on 15 of a whopping 29 free throw attempts, 24 of those coming in the fourth quarter alone, as Washington tried to exploit his weakness from the foul line.