The Milwaukee Bucks got big performances from their two brightest stars in a 131-124 win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday to clinch a quarterfinal spot in the In-Season Tournament.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points and Damian Lillard added 32 to help the Bucks win East Group B with a 4-0 record.

Milwaukee will host wild-card New York on either Dec. 4 or 5, with East Group C winner Boston going to Group A winner Indiana for the other quarterfinal before the Final Four in Las Vegas.

Miami, which was without second-leading scorer Jimmy Butler, dropped its second straight following a 9-1 stretch.

Bam Adebayo scored 31 points and Kyle Lowry had 21, including a 3-pointer with 3:25 remaining to put the Heat up 118-115.

The Bucks, though, finished on a 16-6 run, going 5 for 6 from the field and 5 for 5 from the line. Lillard made two free throws with 63 seconds to play to help put it out of reach.

Milwaukee lost forward Pat Connaughton to a sprained right ankle in the second quarter.

Kings rally past Warriors to advance

Malik Monk sank a fadeaway with 7 seconds remaining and the Sacramento Kings rallied from 11 down in the fourth quarter for a 124-123 win over the Golden State Warriors.

De’Aaron Fox scored 29 points and Monk and Kevin Huerter each added 21 for the Kings, who won their group with a 4-0 record and will host New Orleans next week in the quarterfinals.

Sacramento needed a win or a loss by 11 points or fewer to advance but erased a 21-point deficit to win for the seventh time in nine games.

Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors with 29 points apiece, but Golden State dropped to 2-8 in its last 10 games.

Timberwolves star Edwards injured in win

Rudy Gobert had 17 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks as the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame an injury to star guard Anthony Edwards in a 106-103 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the In-Season Tournament.

Edwards had 12 of his 21 points in the third quarter before landing hard on his right side during a dunk attempt and leaving with a bruised right hip.

Coach Chris Finch had no more details on the injury or whether Edwards would miss time.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 32 points on 13-of-22 shooting but his 37-foot try at the buzzer, his only 3-point attempt of the night, was well off the mark.

Reserve Troy Brown Jr. scored 17 points and Naz Reid added 15 for Minnesota, which improved the West’s best record to 12-4.

Nikola Jokic scored 33 points and fell an assist shy of a triple-double as the Denver Nuggets sent the Dallas Mavericks to their first loss of the season, 125-114 on Friday in the inaugural In-Season Tournament.

Michael Porter Jr. had 24 points and nine rebounds and Jamal Murray added 18 points and 13 assists to help Denver bounce back from its first loss of the season.

Jokic shot 14 of 16 and grabbed a season-high 14 boards, coming up an assist short of his 108th career triple-double.

Luka Doncic also just missed a triple-double with 34 points, 10 boards and eight assists and Kyrie Irving scored 22 points for Dallas, which opened the season 4-0.

The Mavericks were without coach Jason Kidd, who didn’t make the trip due to a non-COVID-19 illness. Top assistant Sean Sweeney took his spot on the bench.

Dallas' loss leaves 4-0 Boston as the league’s lone remaining unbeaten team.

 

Curry’s last-second layup lifts Warriors

Stephen Curry scored 30 points and made the winning layup with 0.2 seconds left to propel the Golden State Warriors to a 141-139 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the teams’ first In-Season Tournament game.

Curry’s basket was initially waved off because of offensive goaltending, but it was overturned, and the Warriors notched their second straight last-second win. Klay Thompson hit a jumper with less than a second remaining in Wednesday’s win over Sacramento.

Dario Saric had 20 points and Andrew Wiggins added 17 to help Golden State win its fifth straight since a season-opening loss to Phoenix.

Lu Dort led the Thunder with 29 points – including 6 of 6 from 3-point range - and Chet Holmgren had a career-high 24 on 7-of-9 shooting with eight rebounds and five assists.

Oklahoma City played without leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who sat out with a sprained knee.

 

Bucks overcome Brunson, Knicks

Damian Lillard scored six straight points down the stretch on his way to 30 points and the Milwaukee Bucks got past the New York Knicks, 110-105 to open the inaugural In-Season Tournament.

Milwaukee survived Jalen Brunson’s 45 points and blew a 14-point lead before Lillard sank a 3-pointer to give the Bucks a 104-103 lead with 1:03 left.

Lillard converted a three-point play 25 seconds later to make it 107-103 and sealed the win with two free throws in the waning seconds.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Milwaukee, which has alternated wins and losses in each of its five games this season.

Brunson was 17 of 30 from the field and fell three points shy of his career high, set against Cleveland on March 31.

Steve Kerr feels the Golden State Warriors are "whole" again with the return of Andrew Wiggins, despite defeat in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series to the Sacramento Kings.

Wiggins featured for the first time since February 13, having missed two months because of a family matter, and impressed in his 28-minute display – finishing with 17 points on 7-of-16 shooting and four blocked shots as the Warriors went down 126-123 at Golden 1 Center.

His performance impressed Kerr, particularly his first half display, and the signs look promising for the rest of the series.

"So awesome to have him back. You know, we're whole with him out there. Our team makes sense with Wiggs back. I thought he looked really good," Kerr said.

"The first half was amazing, second half he maybe wore down a little bit, which is to be expected, given he hasn't played in a game in over two months. He was fantastic."

Stephen Curry had a similar assessment of Wiggins' return, saying: "When you go through all the decisions to put a roster together, all of the pieces have to be fit.

"He's a big part of everything we do. When you go into a season, you want to be as fully healthy as possible because that's the way all the pieces are meant to fit.

"We haven't had it for a very long time, and we tried to hold down the fort. Now we have that look back."

The Warriors meet the Kings in Game 2 on Monday, then finishing the series with back-to-back home games on Thursday and Sunday.

The Golden State Warriors have cleared forward Andrew Wiggins to play in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.

"Andrew looks great, feeling good and is ready to go," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters after practice Thursday.

Wiggins last played on February 13 and spent several weeks away from his team while attending to a family matter. He returned to practice last week to re-acclimate himself and work on conditioning, but the Warriors remain unclear on how much to expect from Wiggins right away after two months off.

Donte DiVincenzo started in all but one of Golden State’s final 25 regular-season games while Wiggins was away, and the team could opt for the status quo until their All-Star forward is back in top form.

"I think it sort of depends on how he feels [Friday] and going into Saturday,” Kerr said. "On the one hand, 'Wiggs' is one of those guys who just doesn't seem to fall out of shape or get tired. He's just a naturally gifted athlete.

"On the other hand, he hasn't played in 10 weeks. So maybe the game will dictate it. We'll just have to play it by ear."

A 2021-22 All-Star, Wiggins played a critical part in the Warriors winning the NBA title last summer, their fourth in an eight-season span.

Wiggins was especially valuable in the NBA Finals, averaging 18.3 points and 8.8 rebounds while spending heavy minutes defending Boston Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

"Defense, rebounding," center Kevon Looney said Wednesday when asked how Wiggins helps the Warriors. "He's a guy that guards the other team's best players.

"And he's a guy that when the shot clock is getting low, you can just throw him the ball and he's going to get a bucket. That's something we've been missing all year.

"To have him back for the playoffs is going to be important for our team. The playoffs, teams start taking some things away. Sometimes you got to go get a bucket, and he's one of the best at that."

A nine-year NBA veteran, Wiggins averaged 17.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 37 games this season.

In three games against the Kings this season, Wiggins scored 24, 25 and 26 points while shooting over 50 percent from the floor in each contest.

Andrew Wiggins believes his court comeback is just a matter of time after he returned to the Golden State Warriors following a personal absence.

The small forward has missed 22 games for the Warriors since taking a temporary leave from the team in order to deal with a family illness.

Wiggins has declined to elaborate on the specifics, but was back with Steve Kerr's side for Tuesday's 136-125 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Now, with his return to the fold, the 28-year-old has set his sights on playing once again, having last featured against the Washington Wizards in February.

"I don't think it will be too long before I am out there," he said. "I felt really good right before I left. I felt like I was in a rhythm, was making shots, moving well.

"Hopefully, I'll be right back where I left off. [But] when you're in a certain situation and your family needs you and requires your attention and love, that's my first priority.

"My career, everything, family is always first for me. When I felt like I was in a safe space to come back, we got everything settled in a safe place."

Coach Steve Kerr effectively ruled out a role for Wiggins in Friday's trip to the Sacramento Kings, noting they would assess him over the coming week.

"We'll have a better idea in the next couple of days," he added. "There's no way he's playing in the next few days, I can tell you that.

"But I think once we have an assessment over the next couple of days, we'll have a better idea of when he might be able to play."

The Warriors follow their trip to Sacramento with their last regular season fixture, against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

Steve Kerr was effusive in his praise of Jordan Poole after the 23-year-old led the Golden State Warriors to victory at the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

Poole scored 32 points as the Warriors won 120-114 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, with the defending NBA champions without star players Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins.

Coach Steve Kerr rested them and others after their agonising overtime defeat at the Boston Celtics on Thursday, and was pleased to see Poole step up in their absence.

"He's continuing to grow and he's continuing to get better," Kerr said post-game. "In the last two games, he was fantastic... To play that way tonight without Steph and Klay and Wiggs and Dray, to give us that scoring and that force, he made so many plays out there. He set the tone.

"He's getting better and better. There is still so far to go, which is exciting."

Golden State did not particularly miss Curry as they managed to hit 23 three-pointers, the most they have ever recorded in a game without the eight-time All Star.

Poole acknowledged he and his team-mates had to learn from their mistakes against Boston, where they threw away a lead in the fourth quarter.

The Cavaliers also began eating into a lead that had been as high as 20 points at one stage, but this time the Warriors were able to close it out.

"It was a learning experience yesterday," Poole said. "It was something that we were very aware of. It kind of was a very similar situation, being up with six minutes left and then it became a close game. We knew we needed to lock down, get some stops and make a good run. We needed to close it out and we did. Now we have to build on it.

"Everybody on our team is confident, and shout-out to Coach Kerr for allowing us to play with that confidence. We know what we are capable of. We were spacing the floor and getting good looks. We got laser-focused."

The Golden State Warriors played their "best stretch" of basketball this season in Saturday's 120-101 win over the Houston Rockets says head coach Steve Kerr, as the reigning champions ominously made it five wins from six games.

The Warriors raced to a 39-23 quarter-time lead, inspired by Andrew Wiggins with a season-high 36 points and reigning NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry with 30.

Golden State led 22-4 at one stage in the first quarter and did not commit a turnover until the second quarter, in an ominous sign from the reigning champions who improved to 12-11.

"It was a phenomenal first 18 minutes," Kerr told reporters. "I thought that was maybe the best stretch we've had all year to start the game.

"Then halfway through the second quarter, maybe eight minutes left in the second quarter we didn’t have any turnovers, we had like 16 assists, we were defending, rebounding, doing everything right and then we just lost our focus.

"That's our biggest challenge right now is trying to maintain our focus long enough to not give up leads and allow teams back in and I thought that’s what happened tonight."

Warriors shooting guard Thompson was rested for the game, the second of their back-to-back games, having won 119-111 over the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

"The hope is that he will play back-to-backs later this year," Kerr said.

"Today, he will go through really good court work to try and simulate as best we can what a back-to-back would feel like for him."

Wiggins and Curry both scored eight three-pointers each as the Warriors tallied 25 for the game on 52.9 per cent shooting from beyond the arc.

The Warriors became the second team behind the Utah Jazz in November-December 2021 to make 20 three-pointers in four of five games.

Andrew Wiggins and Stephen Curry piled on the points as the Golden State Warriors improved to a 12-11 record with a 120-101 victory over the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

Wiggins scored a season-high 36 points on 14-of-19 field shooting with a joint career-high eight three-pointers, including three in a row in the third quarter at the Chase Center.

Curry added 30 points, including eight triples, as well as providing 10 assists for Golden State, who have won five of their past six games.

Jordan Poole, who came into the starting line-up for Klay Thompson who was rested, also had 21 points with five three-pointers. Center Kevon Looney had 12 rebounds with nine points.

The Warriors shot 25-of-52 from three-point range as a team, compared to the Rockets who went at 10.7 per cent from beyond the arc, making three-of-28 attempts.

Golden State became the second team in NBA history to make 20 three-pointers in four of five games.

Gobert ejected in Timberwolves defeat

Rudy Gobert was ejected for deliberately tripping Kenrich Williams as the Minnesota Timberwolves were beaten 135-128 by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The French center was given a flagrant 2 foul and ejected in the second quarter when he tangled with Williams, appearing to sweep a leg out while on the ground, seeing his unbalanced opponent tumble.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander top scored for OKC with 33 points and six assists, while for the Timberwolves, who were already without Karl-Anthony Towns (calf), D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards scored 27 and 26 points respectively.

Short-handed Bucks down Hornets

The Milwaukee Bucks overcame the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo due to left knee soreness as they moved to 16-6 with a 105-96 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

The Bucks, who are second in the Eastern Conference, were also without Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday but Bobby Portis (20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists) stepped up.

Jordan Nwora added 17 points, while Brook Lopez (14 points including three three-pointers and six rebounds) and Jevon Carter (14 points and six assists) were strong contributors.

The Golden State Warriors have continued the mission to keep their championship core in place, with forward Andrew Wiggins agreeing a four-year, $109million contract extension.

Wiggins was entering the final year of his previous deal and will now be owed a total of $143million over the next five seasons.

The news, reported initially by ESPN, comes just hours after Golden State and Jordan Poole were revealed to have agreed to a four-year, $140million extension.

Wiggins was a crucial contributor to the Warriors title run in June, with the 27-year-old averaging 18.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.

The number one overall pick in 2014, Wiggins had several productive seasons on losing teams with the Minnesota Timberwolves but had his best moments as a pro in the 2022 playoffs as a two-way force for the Warriors.

Wiggins has averaged 19.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 598 career games.

With Wiggins, Poole and star Stephen Curry signed at least through the 2025-26 season, attention now turns to veterans Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, who are under contract this season and have player options in 2023-24.

The Warriors were well over the NBA's luxury tax threshold last season, paying over $300million for their roster, an NBA record.

This year's bill will be even more expensive for team owner Joe Lacob.

Despite Lacob's track record of paying exorbitant taxes to maximise the Warriors' chances at more championships, some have wondered if there will be enough money to go around in two years to keep Green and Thompson in the Bay Area.

Andrew Wiggins became an NBA champion and All-Star in the 2021-22 season, but he has revealed he regrets getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

The 27-year-old small forward took his game to a new level last season, helping the Golden State Warriors win the NBA title.

Wiggins averaged 17.2 points with a career-best three-point percentage of 39.3 per cent along with 4.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in the 2021-22 season. He was a key contributor during the playoffs too, averaging 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

But the 2014 NBA Draft top pick reflected on his prolonged decision to get vaccinated on the eve of the season. The situation threatened to evolve similarly to Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, who saw his season sidetracked.

"I still wish I didn't get [vaccinated], to be honest with you," Wiggins told FanSided.

"I did it, and I was an All-Star this year and champion, so that was the good part, just not missing out on the year, the best year of my career.

"But for my body, I just don't like putting all that stuff in my body, so I didn't like that and I didn't like that it wasn't my choice. I didn't like that it was either get this or don't play."

Andrew Wiggins hopes to keep playing for the Golden State Warriors and keep "proving the doubters wrong".

Wiggins had a vital role in the Warriors' NBA Finals victory over the Boston Celtics.

It was the Warriors' fourth title in eight years but a first for Wiggins, who arrived from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a February 2020 trade.

The former first overall pick has faced plenty of questions in his NBA career so far, but he answered plenty of them against the Celtics.

Wiggins played more minutes than any other Warrior (235) and also led the way in rebounds (53) and blocks (nine) as he had a huge impact on the defensive end.

On offense, he trailed only Finals MVP Stephen Curry in points (18.3 per game) and made field goals (45), shooting 44.6 per cent.

"There was a lot of talk, people have something to say about every little thing, but now I'm happy that I made it here," Wiggins said.

"People didn't think I could ever be in this position or even be helpful on a championship team. But I'm proving the doubters wrong, and I'm going to keep it going."

And he plans to keep going on the Warriors, having been linked with trades almost since he arrived two years ago.

"I would love to stay here," said Wiggins, who will earn $33.6million next year before becoming an unrestricted free agent.

"Being here, this is top-notch. The way they treat the players... we're all one big family. I feel like a lot of places may say that, but [the Warriors] show it through their actions."

The Golden State Warriors secured their fourth NBA Championship in the past eight years with a 103-90 away win against the Boston Celtics in Game 6.

With the win, the Warriors secured a 4-2 series win, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to rattle off three of the next four, including two road wins in Boston.

While the night ended in Golden State celebrations, the start was all Celtics, jumping out of the gates to a 14-2 lead.

The Warriors kept in touch, and then went on an explosive, game-winning run late in the first quarter, turning a 22-16 deficit into a 37-22 lead with a 21-0 run.

Golden State's defense rose to the occasion, out-playing the Celtics' league-best defense, holding the home side to 17 points in the second quarter to lead 54-39 at half-time.

The Celtics did not lay down, launching their own run late in the third quarter, closing the term on a 16-4 run to cut the lead down to 10 as Al Horford willed his side back into the game. Horford had 12 points, six rebounds and a block in just the third quarter.

Down the stretch, with the Warriors needing to steady, it would be their superstar who would stand up. 

Stephen Curry had 13 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 34 points (12-of-21 shooting, six-of-11 from three), seven rebounds and seven assists.

His performance capped off a series where he averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists, earning him the first Finals MVP of his Hall-of-Fame career.

Andrew Wiggins was the Warriors' second-best player all series, and he produced one of the best defensive games of his career in Game 6, holding Jayson Tatum to just 13 points on six-of-18 shooting, while taking four steals and blocking three shots.

Wiggins also added 18 points on seven-of-18 shooting, with six rebounds and five assists. With the performance, he scored at least 17 points in five of the six Finals games, and averaged a team-high 8.8 rebounds per game in the series.

Jaylen Brown was the Celtics' brightest star, scoring 34 points on 12-of-23 shooting, but he also had five turnovers, which was a theme for the hosts.

The Celtics committed 22 turnovers as a team – seven more than the Warriors – after committing 18 to Golden State's seven in their Game 5 loss. During the regular season, Boston averaged 13.6 turnovers per game.

Draymond Green described Andrew Wiggins as a player you want in the big occasions after his star turn in Game 5 of the NBA Finals put the Golden State Warriors on the cusp of championship glory.

Wiggins contributed 26 points and 13 rebounds, while Klay Thompson had 21 points as the Warriors scored a 104-94 win against the Boston Celtics on home court to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

It was a particularly valuable contribution from Wiggins in the context of an off night for superstar Stephen Curry, who had scored 43 points in the Game 4 triumph in Boston.

Curry had 16 points and laid on eight assists but surprisingly went 0-for-9 from three-point range, ending his record run of at least one three in a postseason game at 132, and ending his streak of regular and post-season combined at 233.

Green concedes Wiggins has had to grow in stature with the Warriors but says he is now the kind of player to excel on the big occasions.

"I think he started to feel it out, but coming into this year, he was an All-Star starter for a reason," Green said.

"He defended very well. He scored the ball very well and really just plugged right in. Like it wasn't like 'oh, you need to call a set for him every time'. He's kind of been getting it. He's continued to do that.

"I think the bigger the challenge has been that we've thrown in front of him, the bigger he's responded. You want a guy like that, when the stage gets big, they respond and play their best basketball, and that's what he's been doing."

Wiggins was able to reflect on a special moment, and said the celebrations from the likes of Klay Thompson at his performance were a sign of the "love" among the roster.

"It's something I dreamt about for sure, being in the league, and this is the ultimate stage. It doesn't get bigger than this. I was out there being aggressive. It was a good game," Wiggins said.

"That's [the celebrations] love. That's what makes it all work. We all support each other, and we want to see each other do good and succeed. That's why we're here."

Asked how he earned the respect of his team, Wiggins added: "Before I even got here, they have been great.

"You know, things that worked for them. And I feel like I'm pretty easy going, so I just came in here and hoop. I'm playing basketball, and I'm playing hard, and I feel like people respect that. And I'm just trying to win. 

"At the end of the day, no matter what it takes or whatever they need from me, I'm here to help them win."

The Golden State Warriors showed their championship pedigree in Monday's 104-94 home win against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

With the win, the Warriors have taken a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven. Historically, when a seven-game series is tied at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has gone on to win the series over 82 per cent of the time.

While it has been all Stephen Curry for the Warriors up this point, Game 5 was a true team performance as Curry struggled.

It started on the defensive end for the Warriors, holding the Celtics to just eight points in the first nine minutes of action on the way to a 27-16 opening frame.

Andrew Wiggins had seven points in the first quarter, and backed it up with another nine in the second, clearly the Warriors' best player in the first half as they won the second frame 24-23 to head into half-time leading 51-39.

A classic Warriors third quarter would have put the game to bed, but it was the Celtics' turn to flip the game on its head, starting the second half on a 10-0 run.

The road team would hit six-of-eight three-pointers in the period to pull ahead 74-72 in the closing stages, before a running heave from Jordan Poole banked in off the backboard to beat the buzzer. Replays showed the ball left Poole's fingertips with 0.1 seconds remaining on the clock, giving the Warriors a one-point lead.

Poole's launch ignited the crowd, and they carried that momentum in the opening stages of the fourth, starting the quarter on a 10-0 run of their own to take a stranglehold on the contest.

In the biggest moments, Wiggins did not cede the floor to Curry, scoring 10 points in the last quarter, capped off with an emphatic slam dunk.

Wiggins finished with a team-high 26 points on 12-of-23 shooting, backing up his career-high 16 rebounds in Game 4 with another 13 rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

Averaging 34.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists in the first four games, Curry went ice cold from long range as the series returned to Golden State, going seven-of-22 from the field and a shocking zero-of-nine from deep for his 16 points and eight assists.

It was the first of Curry's 133 career playoff games that he has not made a three-pointer, and breaks a streak of 233 consecutive total games without hitting one, and a streak of 38 straight playoff games with multiple makes.

Incredibly, Curry and Wiggins combined to shoot zero-of-15 from long range, but they received some crucial shooting performances from Klay Thompson (five-of-11 from three, 21 points) and Jordan Poole (three-of-six from deep, 14 points in 14 minutes).

Gary Payton II also played a big part in the win, coming off the bench to score 15 points on six-of-eight shooting, ripping away three steals and providing a game-changing presence on the defensive end of the floor.

Ultimately, the Warriors played playoff-proven, winning basketball. They finished with six combined turnovers as a team, with just four coming from the starters, and hit 86 per cent of their free throws (13-of-15).

For the Celtics, their big three of Jayson Tatum (four turnovers), Jaylen Brown (five) and Marcus Smart (four) combined for 13 of their side's 18 total turnovers, while they shot 67 per cent from the free throw line (21-of-31).

Tatum was the visiting side's top performer, finishing with 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting, going five-of-nine from long range, adding 10 rebounds and four assists, although he did miss four of his six free throws.

The Warriors now have a chance to close out the series – and secure their fourth championship in eight seasons – when they head to Boston for Game 6. If the Celtics are able to win Game 6, Game 7 will head back to Golden State.

Steve Kerr singled out the drive to improve as fuel for his "superstar" Stephen Curry to lift the Golden State Warriors, ahead of Monday's Game 5 matchup with the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Curry was at his transformative best in Game 4 on Friday as the Warriors evened the series up with a 107-97 win, scoring 43 points on 14-of-26 shooting along with 10 rebounds and four assists.

The 34-year-old has averaged 34.3 points in the opening four games of the NBA Finals on astounding shooting splits of 50/49/86 per cent, for a true shooting percentage 66.4 per cent and net rating of +12.

Speaking in the leadup to Game 5, the Warriors head coach cited Curry's valuing of preparation and work to maximise his shooting talent as the reason behind his play at such a high level.

"Just the consistency of his routine," Kerr told reporters. "He's a like a metronome, every day it's the exact same thing. He's in the training room, he's in the weight room, he's on the court and it's clockwork, but there's also a sense of joy and energy within that work.

"He enjoys it so much. He loves the process, and I think that's the thing that ties all great athletes together. Like, I'm talking about the superstar athletes, the Roger Federers of the world and Steph Currys of the world.

"There is a routine that is not only super disciplined but it's really enjoyed each day, there is a passion that comes with it, and that's what sustains it over time. When you love something like those guys do, you work at it, you get better and you just keep going."

Kerr also reserved some praise for Andrew Wiggins, who has provided valuable support in the face of Klay Thompson's shooting slump and patchy form from Draymond Green.

Only making the playoffs once in his career before this season, the 27-year-old has averaged 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, along with a steal and a block over the opening four games.

Traded to the Warriors in 2020, Wiggins has proved a compatible fit on both ends of the floor, with Kerr taking pride in his development.

"He's a very mild-mannered guy, but he's taking a leap in these playoffs, in terms of his impact on the game," the Warriors coach said. "Defensively, on the glass, you saw the other night with 16 rebounds and I think because the games are obviously so meaningful, there's more emotion from him and from everybody.

"The biggest thing is that he's a two-way player, you've got to have two-guys to make it this far and to succeed, and he has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. It's really fun to watch that growth."

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