NBA

Curry catches fire to keep the Warriors alive, Maxey delivers for the 76ers

By Sports Desk April 21, 2023

Stephen Curry was the star of the show in Thursday's crucial 114-97 Golden State Warriors victory in Game 3 of their first-round series against the Sacramento Kings.

After dropping the first two games of the series on the road, it was a do-or-die fixture for a Warriors team who were without future Hall-of-Famer Draymond Green due to his stomping suspension from Game 2.

But Kevon Looney picked up the slack on the interior, snatching down 20 rebounds to go with an equal career-high nine assists as he did his best Green impression, while Curry provided the scoring firepower.

Curry finished with a game-high 36 points on 12-of-25 shooting, hitting six-of-12 from long range, while adding six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block, posting a plus/minus of plus 24 in his 37 minutes.

Andrew Wiggins was the Warriors' top perimeter defender, and he chipped in 20 points (eight-of-16) in an important two-way effort as Golden State survived Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole combining to shoot nine-of-28 from the field (32.1 per cent).

For the Kings, recently announced winner of the inaugural Clutch Player of the Year award De'Aaron Fox was far from a disappointment, scoring 26 points (nine-of-22) with nine rebounds, nine assists and two steals. 

All-Star Domantas Sabonis also had a solid stat line of 15 points (seven-of-14) and 16 rebounds, but the duo combined for 10 costly turnovers, while the Warriors had 11 as a team.

Green will return for an energised Warriors team as they try to tie the series at 2-2 in Game 4, but if the Kings take it, they will get a chance to seal the series at home when things head back to Sacramento for Game 5.

Maxey delivers down the stretch

Third-year standout Tyrese Maxey was the Philadelphia 76ers' hero down the stretch of their 102-97 road win against the Brooklyn Nets to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

It was a strange game for overwhelming MVP favourite Joel Embiid as the 76ers' big-man was lucky to not be ejected for kicking at Nic Claxton as the Nets center tried to step over him, and he went on to post just 14 points (five-of-13 shooting) and 10 rebounds, with five fouls and five turnovers in 38 minutes.

But after trailing 96-91 with 2:15 remaining, Maxey scored eight points in a row to put Philadelphia up, while the 76ers' defense allowed just one point in the final two minutes.

Maxey finished with a team-high 25 points (10-of-17 shooting), while James Harden was ejected for a low blow after racking up 21 points (eight-of-15) in 29 minutes, although the former MVP did have a plus/minus of minus 15.

Despite being down 3-0, Nets wing Mikal Bridges has shown he has what it takes to deliver offensively as a focal point in the playoffs, averaging 25.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists across the three games, with shooting splits of 45/42/88.

Booker outduels heroic Powell performance

With Kawhi Leonard ruled out, Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker had to deal with an offensive explosion from Los Angeles Clippers guard Norman Powell before emerging victorious 129-124.

The win gives the Suns a 2-1 advantage after dropping Game 1 at home, and they were led by Booker's 45 points (18-of-29 shooting), six rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.

This series has been a defensive awakening for Booker, who also had four steals and three blocks in Game 1, while Kevin Durant filled a secondary role.

Durant's 28 points (eight-of-15 shooting), six rebounds, five assists and two steals were slightly soured by his six turnovers, and he had no luck slowing down Powell.

Powell's 42 points on 15-of-23 shooting was one off his career-high, while Russell Westbrook also rose to the occasion with 30 points (11-of-23), 12 assists, eight rebounds and three steals, posting a plus/minus of plus one in 40 minutes.

Game 4 will remain in Los Angeles, and if the Suns take it, they can lock up a 4-1 series win back at home in Game 5.

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    Anthony Edwards credited Karl-Anthony Towns after he halted his slump to keep the Minnesota Timberwolves alive in their Western Conference finals series against the Dallas Mavericks.

    Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as Minnesota held off a late Dallas rally for a 105-100 road win, forcing a Game 5 in Minneapolis on Thursday.

    That came after a difficult start to the series for the four-time All-Star, with coach Chris Finch saying it was "hard to watch" his struggles in Game 3.

    Towns shot just 27.8 per cent in the series' first three games, but was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range on Tuesday.

    Edwards, who narrowly missed out on a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, said Towns was the primary reason the Timberwolves retained hope of an NBA Finals berth. 

    "Everything came together for him; he was super confident," Edwards said of Towns. 

    "He played exceptionally well, and he came through big-time. He was the reason we won tonight."

    Finch echoed Edwards' praise, saying: "KAT's a great player. His struggles were not going to last forever. He got himself going. 

    "Even when he got deep in foul trouble, we left him out there, just let him roll, and he played smart, played under control, rebounded really well for us, executed defensively. We're really proud of him. Tonight was a great step for him."

    While it was Towns' efforts that gave Minnesota a lead to defend, it was Edwards who made certain of the victory with a mid-range jumper after the Mavs pulled within three points just over a minute before the buzzer. 

    Towns, who fouled out with one minute and 38 seconds on the clock, said of his team-mate's game-sealing shot: "I was on the bench and had a front-row seat. I feel like he was visualising that make and he got to exactly the spot he wanted to.

    "I'm honoured to be playing with my brother here, seeing him every day put the work in, and I knew when he got to that shot it was a high likelihood he was going to make that."

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    Anthony Edwards just missed a triple-double, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday to avoid being swept in the Western Conference finals.

    Facing a 3-0 series deficit on the road, the Wolves conjured their best defensive game of the series to force a Game 5 on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

    Dallas' Luka Doncic finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but was held to 7-for-21 shooting. Kyrie Irving shot 6 of 18 from the field to finish with 16 points.

    "That game's on me. Just didn't give enough energy," Doncic told reporters after the game. "They won one game. We've just got to focus on the next one."

    Towns, who shot 27.8 per cent in the series' first three games, was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Despite his redemptive performance on offense, Towns fouled out with 1:38 remaining after falling for a Doncic pump fake at the 3-point line.

    Edwards was assertive from the opening tip, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

    The Mavs pulled to within 100-97 with just over a minute remaining before Edwards hit a mid-range jumper to extend the Minnesota lead. On Dallas' following possession, Kyle Anderson stole the ball from Irving to extinguish the threat.

    The Mavericks played without standout rookie center Dereck Lively II due to a neck sprain after taking a rough fall in Game 3.

    No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series lead, but the Wolves will hope to keep the pressure on Dallas in Game 5.

     

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    Anthony Edwards just missed a triple-double, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday to avoid being swept in the Western Conference finals.

    Facing a 3-0 series deficit on the road, the Wolves conjured their best defensive game of the series to force a Game 5 on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

    Dallas’ Luka Dončić finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but was held to 7-for-21 shooting. Kyrie Irving shot 6 of 18 from the field to finish with 16 points.

    “That game's on me. Just didn't give enough energy,” Dončić told reporters after the game. “They won one game. We've just got to focus on the next one.”

    Towns, who shot 27.8 percent in the series’ first three games, was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Despite his redemptive performance on offence, Towns fouled out with 1:38 remaining after falling for a Dončić pump fake at the 3-point line.

    Edwards was assertive from the opening tip, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

    The Mavs pulled to within 100-97 with just over a minute remaining before Edwards hit a mid-range jumper to extend the Minnesota lead. On Dallas’ following possession, Kyle Anderson stole the ball from Irving to extinguish the threat.

    The Mavericks played without standout rookie center Dereck Lively II due to a neck sprain after taking a rough fall in Game 3.

    No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series lead, but the Wolves will hope to keep the pressure on Dallas in Game 5.

     

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