Steve Kerr is considering how best to use Klay Thompson after the 34-year-old responded to being benched with an emphatic showing for the Golden State Warriors.

Thompson was benched for the first time since 2012 on Thursday, but responded with his best performance of the season as the Warriors beat the Utah Jazz 140-137.

The small forward finished with 35 points and six rebounds. Thompson had started 727 straight games.

Golden State's win marked Kerr's 500th victory as Warriors coach, and he believes Thompson, who is averaging 17.3 points per game this season.

"It's been a tricky season for him and for us," said Kerr.

"It's not as easy to do what Klay did five or six years ago for him.

"I think this could be a good balance to get the best out of Klay and to get the best out of our team.

"He's just such a competitor. I've watched him win championships. I've seen him hit a million big shots. I've seen him guard the toughest guys in the league.

"Klay's a champion. He's an incredible player, a great person."

Thompson has now surpassed 15,000 points, becoming the sixth Golden State player, and the 153rd player in total, to do so.

"You can do two things: You can pout or you can go out there and respond," said Thompson. "I thought I did the latter very well tonight.

"Throughout the game, when I'm running with the second unit, I realised I might be more of a focal point to the offense.

"That's a fun role to play. I just wanted to take it upon myself to prove to coach that I was going to respond like the champ I am.

"I thought about [former Spurs great] Manu Ginobli, that guy has four rings and a gold medal, and he came off the bench his whole career, and I don't think anyone looks down on his Hall of Fame candidacy.

"He's one of the greats. And I thought, I mean, I embraced it before tip, and I deserved it really."

Klay Thompson scored a season-high 35 points with seven 3-pointers in his first appearance off the bench since his rookie season in the Golden State Warriors’ 140-137 win over the Utah Jazz on Thursday.

A reserve for the first time since March 11, 2012, Thompson scored 17 points in the Warriors’ 84-point first half. He was 13 of 22 from the field and 7 of 13 from 3-point range with six rebounds in 28 minutes.

Brandon Podziemski replaced him in the starting lineup and had 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Draymond Green scored a season-best 23 points, Andrew Wiggins added 19 and Stephen Curry contributed 16 points and 10 assists as Golden State won its seventh in eight games.

Collin Sexton led the Jazz with 35 points and nine assists, while Keyonte George set career highs with 33 points and nine 3s.

 

Wolves start fast in rout of Blazers

Anthony Edwards scored 13 of his 34 points in a dominant first quarter and the Minnesota Timberwolves cruised to a 128-91 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Karl-Anthony Towns added 23 points and Jaden McDaniels scored 17 as Minnesota opened a 44-14 lead after one quarter in its fourth straight victory.

The Wolves’ 30-point lead was the most lopsided first quarter in the NBA this season.

Jerami Grant scored 20 points for Portland, which has lost six straight.

 

Grizzlies hold off Bucks

Ziaire Williams and GG Jackson each scored 27 points and the Memphis Grizzlies held on for a 113-110 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Vince Williams had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Lamar Stevens added 13 points off the bench to help Memphis win its second straight following a season-high nine-game losing streak.

Giannis Antetokoumpo had his 43rd double-double of the season with 35 points and 12 assists, and Damian Lillard had 24 points and seven assists.

Milwaukee has lost its last two and five of its past seven games.

Ja Morant scored 34 points in his season debut, including a spinning dribble in the lane to set up a game-winning floater as time expired, to lift the Memphis Grizzlies to a 115-113 victory Tuesday over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Morant didn’t look rusty in his return, shooting 12 of 24 from the field with eight assists and six rebounds to help Memphis snap a five-game losing streak.

His point total was the most in NBA history by a player coming back from an absence of at least 25 games.

The Grizzlies went 6-19 during Morant’s suspension for his social media antics with guns.

Jaren Jackson Jr. had 24 points and Desmond Bane added 21 for Memphis.

Brandon Ingram poured in 34 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 22 and 4 rebounds for the Pelicans, who had a four-game winning streak stopped.

Zion Williamson was limited by foul trouble and was limited to 13 points.

Lillard has 40 to power Bucks past Spurs

Damian Lillard scored a season-high 40 points to reach 20,000 and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a triple-double to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to their fifth straight win, 132-119 over the San Antonio Spurs.

Lillard increased his career point total to 20,034 to become the 51st player in NBA history – and eighth active player – to accumulate 20,000 points. He is the 17th-fastest player to reach that milestone.

Antetokounmpo had a career-high 16 assists, 14 rebounds and a season-low 11 points for his second triple-double this season and 37th of his career.

Milwaukee is 5-0 on its season-long, six-game homestand that concludes Thursday against Orlando. The Bucks have won 14 straight games at Fiserv Forum for their longest home winning streak since a 20-game run from April 19, 1990-Jan. 8, 1991.

The Spurs played without rookie Victor Wembanyama (sore right ankle) and lost for the 20th time in 21 games.

Warriors outlast Celtics in overtime

Stephen Curry scored 33 points, including seven straight in overtime, and the Golden State Warriors defeated the Celtics, 132-126 to end Boston’s five-game winning streak.

Klay Thompson had 24 points, Jonathan Kuminga added 17 and Trayce Jackson-Davis contributed 10 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists as the Warriors won their third in a row.

Derrick White scored 30 points and Jaylen Brown had 26 points, eight boards and six assists for Boston, which dropped its third straight road game.

Al Horford’s 3-pointer with 36 seconds left in overtime drew the Celtics within 127-126, but Curry drilled a 3 with the shot clock winding down with 12 seconds to play and added a pair of free throws in the closing seconds.

Steve Kerr was happy that other players stepped up as Stephen Curry's NBA record for successive games with a made 3-pointer ended on Sunday.

The Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 118-114, but Curry was unable to make any shots from distance.

It ended his record run of 268 games with a successful 3-pointer, as the 35-year-old went 0-for-8 from range. It was the first time he failed to make a 3-pointer in a regulation game since November 8, 2018.

Curry had shot 6-of-8 from 3-point range in a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, and is the all-time leader in that regard, with 3,505 3-pointers across his career.

But coach Kerr knows the Warriors must not be so reliant on the two-time league MVP.

"We can't rely on Steph to bail us out on every single night," Kerr said.

"It was a tough night for him. But that's what a team is supposed to be about, everybody filling in for each other, different guys stepping up each night. 

"That's a great sign, because he's carried us for long enough this year. We need to give him more help."

Curry had just seven points from 31 minutes on the court, but Klay Thompson delivered for the Warriors with 28 points, while Andrew Wiggins contributed 25 from the bench.

Jerami Grant led the game for Portland, with 30 points, while also chipping in with seven rebounds and six assists.

"I feel great, trying to be efficient every night, that’s the goal," Thompson said in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area.

"Not scoring 50, but just making the most [of chances], taking the shots, and I think I just did well from the last game. Just a great all-round effort."

Derrick White scored 30 points and Kristaps Porzingis had 21 in his return to the lineup as the Boston Celtics remained perfect at home with Friday's 133-123 win over the New York Knicks.

Jayson Tatum chipped in 25 points to help Boston improve to 10-0 at TD Garden this season and bounce back from Monday's 122-112 loss to the Indiana Pacers in the NBA's In-Season Tournament quarter-finals.

Porzingis, who had missed the Celtics' previous four games with a strained left calf, tallied 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the first half to help stake Boston to a 74-65 lead at intermission.

The Celtics stretched their advantage to as many as 20 points in the third quarter and the Knicks never got closer than seven points down in the fourth.

Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett each had 23 points for New York, which had won three straight prior to Tuesday's loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Tournament quarterfinals.

Fox leads rally as Kings top short-handed Suns

De'Aaron Fox scored 23 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter as the Sacramento Kings dominated the second half en route to a 114-106 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Domantas Sabonis compiled 15 points, 17 rebounds and five assists for Sacramento, which overcame a nine-point half-time deficit by outscoring the Suns by a 33-12 margin in the third quarter.

Phoenix, which played without Kevin Durant due to an ankle injury and remains without fellow star Bradley Beal, shot 52.4 per cent in the first half to build a 59-50 lead. 

The Suns went 6 of 23 from the field in the third quarter, though, as the Kings fought back to tie the game before finishing the period on a 16-4 run to take an 83-71 advantage into the fourth.

Fox then took over in the final quarter as Sacramento gradually pulled away, with his 3-pointer with 1:44 remaining giving the Kings a comfortable 112-98 lead.

The slumping Suns lost for the fourth time in five games despite Devin Booker's 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting along with seven assists. Eric Gordon added 19 points for Phoenix.

Thunder continue mastery of Warriors with overtime win

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 38 points, Jalen Williams added 28 and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied late in regulation before handing the Golden State Warriors a 138-136 overtime loss.

Chet Holmgren chipped in 21 points, including three free throws with 7.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter that forced overtime, as the upstart Thunder defeated the veteran Warriors for the third time in four meetings this season. 

Golden State fell to 10-12 on the season despite 34 points from Stephen Curry and 22 from Klay Thompson. Jonathan Kuminga posted 24 points and 12 rebounds off the bench before fouling out in OT.

The Thunder battled back from a 14-point second-quarter deficit, then never trailed in overtime after opening the session on a 12-3 run capped by a Holmgren 3-pointer that gave them a 130-121 lead with 2:40 left.

Golden State fought back and pulled to within 136-134 on Curry's 3-pointer with 29.7 seconds remaining, but Holmgren fed Luguentz Dort for a critical layup on the ensuing possession and the Warriors eventually ran out of time.

 

Miles Bridges' 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds left in overtime capped a stunning rally by the Charlotte Hornets, who snapped the Boston Celtics' six-game winning streak with a 121-118 victory on Monday.

The Hornets trailed by 11 points with six minutes remaining in regulation and overcame a 45-point night from Boston star Jayson Tatum to end a run of six consecutive home losses. LaMelo Ball led the comeback with 36 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, while former Celtic Gordon Hayward scored six of his 20 points in overtime.

Bridges added 14 points and 15 rebounds in his third game back from a suspension for a domestic violence arrest that caused him to miss the entire 2022-23 season and the first 10 games of this one.

The Celtics appeared on the way towards another victory before Charlotte scored the final nine points of the fourth quarter. Ball hit a key 3-pointer during the late run and forced overtime with a driving layup with 7.2 seconds remaining.

Tatum's 3-pointer with 57.6 seconds left in regulation put Boston back up by a 116-114 score, but Ball fed Hayward for a dunk on the ensuing possession and after the Celtics' Jaylen Brown missed a 3-pointer, Bridges buried a 25-foot jumper with time winding down to give Charlotte a 119-116 lead.

Payton Pritchard went 5 of 8 from 3-point range and recorded 21 points off the bench for Boston, while Tatum added 13 rebounds and six assists.

Curry extends 3-point record as Warriors halt six-game skid

Stephen Curry made five more 3-pointers and collected 32 points to get the Golden State Warriors back on track with a 121-116 win over the Houston Rockets.

Curry, the NBA's all-time leader in 3-point field goals made, finished 5 of 9 from beyond the arc to become the first in league history with 13 consecutive games with four or more triples to begin a season. 

Klay Thompson broke out of a shooting slump with 20 points to help the Warriors end a six-game losing streak. Chris Paul added 15 points and 12 assists, while Dario Saric contributed 18 points off the bench. 

Thompson, who ended 5 of 11 from 3-point range, had 12 first-half points as Golden State built a 63-53 lead at intermission. Curry scored 16 of his points in the fourth quarter to allow the Warriors to stay in front the rest of the way.

The Rockets lost for the third straight time following a six-game winning streak despite Alperen Sengun's 30 points and 13 rebounds. Fred VanVleet dished out 14 assists for Houston but went just 3 of 13 from the field while being held to 10 points.

Pelicans snap Kings' winning streak with 36-point blowout

Brandon Ingram scored 31 points and Zion Williamson had 26 as the New Orleans Pelicans cooled off the Sacramento Kings with a 129-93 rout.

The Pelicans shot 54 per cent from the field and led by as many as 41 points in ending Sacramento's six-game winning streak. Ingram made all five of his 3-point attempts and shot 11 of 18 overall, while Williamson converted 12 of his 16 field goal tries and added five assists and three steals.

Williamson racked up 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting during a dominant first half as the Pelicans took a 66-53 lead into the break. New Orleans then broke the game open by outscoring the Kings by a 34-16 margin in the third quarter, with Ingram delivering 18 points for the period.

Sacramento shot just 24.4 per cent from 3-point range, including a 2-of-12 performance from leading scorer De'Aaron Fox. 

Harrison Barnes led the Kings with 16 points. Fox ended with a season-low 14 after coming into the contest averaging 31.9 per game. 

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 33 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to their seventh straight win, 104-101 in an In-Season Tournament game on Tuesday that featured three early ejections.

Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels were ejected after an altercation early in the first quarter.

Thompson and McDaniels became embroiled in a shoving match near midcourt following a Minnesota possession. Green rushed in and pulled Rudy Gobert away from behind with his arm around the center’s neck.

Thompson’s jersey was ripped during the scuffle, which led to Green’s second ejection of the season and two free throws by Gobert.

Towns also had 11 rebounds and Anthony Edwards scored 20 points for Minnesota, which defeated Golden State for the second time in three days following a 116-110 win on Sunday.

Brandin Podziemski had 23 points and Dario Saric added 21 for the Warriors, losers of three in a row.

Golden State was already without leading scorer Stephen Curry, who was ruled out with right knee soreness.

Nuggets keep Clippers winless with Harden

Nikola Jokić scored 32 points and just missed a triple-double as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 111-108 in an In-Season Tournament game.

Jokic had 16 rebounds, nine assists and made all 14 free-throw attempts, including two with 13 seconds left that helped thwart the Clippers’ comeback try.

Paul George matched a season high with 35 points and Harden had 21, as the Clippers lost their sixth in a row.

Haliburton stars as Pacers cool 76ers

Tyrese Haliburton had 33 points and 15 assists and Obi Toppin added 27 points to help the Indiana Pacers snap the Philadelphia 76ers’ eight-game winning streak, 132-126 in an In-Season Tournament game.

Myles Turner scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter for Indiana, which has won four of five and bounced back from Sunday’s 137-126 loss to Philadelphia.

Joel Embiid scored 39 points and De’Anthony Melton had 30 as the 76ers suffered their first loss since a season-opening defeat at Milwaukee.

Haliburton was 11 of 18 from the field and 7 for 12 from 3-point range. He had 32 assists and no turnovers in two games against Philadelphia.

Luka Doncic amassed 35 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to help the Dallas Mavericks continue their strong start to the NBA season with Monday's 125-110 road win over the slumping Memphis Grizzlies. 

Coming off a 49-point effort in a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, Doncic followed up by making 6 of 12 attempts from 3-point range and going 11 of 22 overall from the field to lead the way as the Mavericks improved to 3-0.

Derrick Jones added 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 21 points on a night Dallas played without its other star guard, Kyrie Irving, due to a left foot sprain.

Memphis, which had the Western Conference's second-best record at 51-31 last season, fell to 0-4 despite 30 points each from Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane. The Grizzlies also got 23 points and nine assists from Marcus Smart in a losing cause.

The short-handed Grizzlies have opened the season without a pair of starters in All-Star Ja Morant and center Steven Adams. Morant is serving a 25-game suspension by the NBA for conduct detrimental to the league, while Adams is not expected to play in 2023-24 after recently undergoing knee surgery.

 

Jokic powers 4-0 Nuggets past Jazz

Nikola Jokic recorded the 107th triple-double of his illustrious career with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the unbeaten Denver Nuggets to a 110-102 win over the Utah Jazz.

Jokic made 12 of 16 field-goal attempts and added a pair of blocks while tying LeBron James and Jason Kidd for fourth on the NBA's all-time list in triple-doubles. 

Denver also got an efficient shooting night from Aaron Gordon, who finished 12 of 16 from the field while compiling 21 points and seven rebounds. Jamal Murray chipped in 18 points and 14 assists as the defending NBA champions moved to 4-0.

Lauri Markkanen paced Utah with 27 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, while Walker Kessler tallied 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting along with 13 rebounds.

The Jazz led for just 16 seconds and trailed by as many as 17 points to fall to 1-3.

 

Curry's hot hand sparks Warriors' rout of Pelicans

Stephen Curry drained seven 3-pointers and finished with 42 points as the Golden State Warriors continued their recent roll with a 130-102 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans.

With long-time backcourt mate Klay Thompson unavailable with a sore right knee, Curry carried the Warriors' offence by going 15 of 22 from the floor and 7 of 13 on 3-point tries. The two-time NBA MVP added five assists to help the Warriors to a third straight victory following a season-opening loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Curry has now made 24 3-pointers during the Warriors' 3-1 start, the most by any player through four games of a season in NBA history. 

Moses Moody started in place of Thompson and scored 13 points, with Chris Paul and rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis also contributing 13 points off the bench in a game Golden State broke open in the second half.

The Warriors held a slim 59-57 advantage at half-time before outscoring the Pelicans by a 39-21 margin in the third quarter.

New Orleans had a two-game winning streak to begin the season snapped while playing without second-leading scorer Brandon Ingram, who was held out with a sore right knee.

Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum led the Pelicans with 19 points each.

 

Jimmy Butler delivered another clutch display with 42 points including a dramatic game-tying shot to send Game 5 to overtime before the Miami Heat eliminated the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks 128-126 on Wednesday.

The OT victory at Fiserv Forum meant the Heat completed a shock 4-1 first round series triumph, becoming the sixth eight seed to beat a top seed and the first in more than a decade, dating back to 2012.

The Heat launched another fourth-quarter rally led by Butler, similar to Game 4, fighting back from a 102-86 three-quarter time deficit.

Butler scored 14 fourth-quarter points including a game-tying three-pointer with 2:11 left, along an incredible falling alley oop layup from Gabe Vincent's inbound with time almost expiring to send the game to OT.

Miami went ahead early in OT and did not surrender their lead, although the Bucks spurned the final possession as the clock expired with Grayson Allen unable to get a shot away.

Butler finished with 42 points on 17-of-33 shooting with eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. Kevin Love made five triples with 12 rebounds, while Gabe Vincent added 22 points and Bam Adebayo had a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 38 points with 20 rebounds and Khris Middleton shot four-of-10 from three-point range in his 33 points.

Road Warriors take lead in series

The Golden State Warriors claimed a rare road win at the right time, as they claimed a 3-2 series lead over the Sacramento Kings with a 123-116 victory.

Stephen Curry scored 31 points on 12-of-25 shooting, making only two-of-10 from beyond the arc, coming up with a patient three-point play to ice the game with 22.4 seconds left.

The Kings had closed within one point at 111-110 with 4:14 left, with Malik Monk getting hot to finish with 21 points after being scoreless midway through the third. De'Aaron Fox scored a team-high 24 points on nine-of-25 shooting with seven rebounds and nine assists but six turnovers.

Klay Thompson went five-of-11 from three-point range in his 25 points, while Draymond Green scored 20-plus points for the first time since Christmas 2019 with 21 points off the bench.

Grizzlies stay alive, Knicks progress

Desmond Bane and Ja Morant starred as the Memphis Grizzlies stayed alive in the playoffs with a 116-99 win over the Los Angeles Lakers after a strong first half.

The Grizzlies led by as much as 17 points in the first half and while the Lakers closed the gap, Memphis pulled away again led by Bane's 33 points with four three-pointers, while Morant added 31 points with 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Xavier Tillman did a brilliant defensive job on LeBron James who was kept to 15 points on five-of-17 shooting, going scoreless in the fourth quarter. Anthony Davis had 31 points and 19 rebounds. The Lakers lead the series 3-2 with Game 6 in LA.

The New York Knicks advanced into the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals with a 106-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers rounding out a 4-1 series win, their first series triumph since 2013.

Stephen Curry missed a clean three-point attempt on the buzzer as the Sacramento Kings claimed their first playoff win in almost 17 years with a 126-123 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

De'Aaron Fox came alight with 15 final-quarter points for the Kings in a back-and-forth encounter, finishing with 38 on 13-of-27 shooting from the field with four three-pointers.

Curry almost sent Game 1 of their first round playoffs to overtime when he received Draymond Green's inbound pass with 2.9 seconds left, only for his shot to rim out.

Andrew Wiggins had missed a wide-open three-point attempt for the lead with 10.1 seconds left, before Malik Monk made two free-throws to open up the decisive three-point lead.

Curry finished with 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting with six three-pointers made, along with six rebounds and two assists.

Klay Thompson made five-of-14 from beyond the arc, managing 21 points, while Draymond Green had nine rebounds and 11 assists.

Kings center Domantas Sabonis had a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds, while Monk finished with an outstanding 32 points in 29 minutes off the bench, making a perfect 14-of-14 from the line.

Brunson repels Cavs and Mitchell rally

Jalen Brunson helped the New York Knicks steady after a late Cleveland Cavaliers rally to grab a 101-97 road win in Game 1 despite Donovan Mitchell's best efforts.

The Cavs claimed the lead with 2:12 remaining in the final period from Jarrett Allen tip-in capping a stunning 9-0 run, before a clutch Josh Hart triple followed by Brunson step-back jump shot.

Brunson finished with a team-high 27 points, while Julius Randle returned from injury with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Mitchell threw everything at the Knicks, scoring 38 points on 14-of-30 shooting with five rebounds, eight assists and three steals.

The Cavs guard scored 10 points in a row for the Knicks during their fourth-quarter charge, where Quentin Grimes' free-throws with 4.1 seconds left sealed the deal.

Celtics first-half flurry sets up win

The Boston Celtics blew away the Atlanta Hawks with 74 first-half points before easing to a 112-99 victory led by Jaylen Brown with 29 points despite a sore hand.

Jayson Tatum scored 21 of his 25 points in the first half where the Celtics led by as much as 32 points, while Derrick White contributed 25 points and 11 rebounds.

The Hawks' shooting letting them down, finishing with five-of-29 from three-point range with Trae Young managing only 16 points on five-of-18 shooting. Dejounte Murray top scored for Atlanta with 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

James Harden scored 23 points including seven triples with 13 assists as the Philadelphia 76ers scored a playoffs franchise-record 21 three-pointers in their 121-101 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

The Los Angeles Clippers secured the five seed in the Western Conference after rallying from a 10-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Phoenix Suns 119-114 on Sunday.

Norman Powell, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook scored 29, 25 and 25 points respectively for the Clippers, who held off the Golden State Warriors for the five seed, meaning LA will take on the Suns again in the playoffs first round.

Leonard scored the Clippers' final eight points of the game among 12 in the fourth quarter, shooting 11-of-21 from the field, with 15 rebounds and six assists.

Powell continued his fine form off the bench, shooting 12-of-22 for his 29 points with five rebounds, while Westbrook made two three-pointers in his 25 points with seven rebounds and nine assists.

Phoenix sat starters Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton for the game.

Despite that, the Suns put up a good fight, with guard Saben Lee having 25 points with 10 assists, shooting three-of-eight from beyond the arc.

Warriors hit NBA record, LeBron lifts Lakers

Stephen Curry made five three-pointers and shot nine-of-15 for 26 points as the Golden State Warriors routed the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 157-101.

The Warriors could have jumped the Clippers into the five seed if LA lost, but the reigning champions will settle for the six seed, meaning they will take on the Sacramento Kings in the first round.

Curry only played 22 minutes along with Klay Thompson, who scored 20 points, with Golden State piling on an NBA record 55 first-quarter points. Jordan Poole added 21 points including four-of-five triples in 17 minutes and Moses Moody contributed 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting in 29 minutes.

That meant the Los Angeles Lakers finished seventh in the West despite LeBron James scoring eight three-pointers among 36 points in a 128-117 win over the Utah Jazz.

The Lakers will face the Minnesota Timberwolves in the play-in tournament, with the winner to face the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs first round.

Wolves win amid Gobert and McDaniels drama

The Timberwolves jumped the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in seeding for eighth with a 113-108 victory, but it was a game full of drama with Rudy Gobert throwing a punch at teammate Kyle Anderson during a timeout.

Gobert was dismissed for the rest of the game after the second-quarter incident, while top perimeter defender Jaden McDaniels broke his right hand after hitting a wall in frustration.

Despite all that, Anthony Edwards led the Wolves to victory with 26 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and four blocks, while Karl-Anthony Towns had 30 points with eight rebounds.

Brandon Ingram scored 42 points for the Pelicans, who could have finished as high as fifth, but will instead face the Oklahoma City Thunder in a play-in tournament elimination game.

If the Golden State Warriors stay healthy, Klay Thompson sees a clear path to another title this year.

With a single game of the regular season remaining, the defending champion Warriors have not yet booked their playoff spot – in large part due to the key absences they have had this year.

Stephen Curry has been restricted to 55 games so far, while Andrew Wiggins will not add to his 37 games before the postseason, although he is then expected back.

Still, the Warriors have their destiny in their hands: they will avoid the play-in tournament by winning at the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

That is due to an impressive 119-97 victory at the Sacramento Kings on Friday, only their 10th road win of the year.

It is not a record that suggests the Warriors will be among the leading contenders in the playoffs, but Thompson is expecting improvement in the coming weeks.

"It always feels great to win," he said after making five threes and scoring 29 points. "I think it'll click even more when Andrew's in the lineup, because he's such an important player to what we do.

"We still have another level to reach, so I think we should just keep staying humble and working hard, and we'll get there. I know we will."

Health is a key factor, but it is not the only one; the Warriors rank third in scoring (118.5 points per game) but 22nd in defense (117.3 points).

"I always say we have to value the ball more, take great shots and communicate on defense," added Thompson.

"Do those three things, and I don't see a team who can beat us in a seven-game series when we're healthy. If we do those three things going forward, I think we'll be in a great position to repeat."

Thompson's fitness at least has not been a concern this year.

He missed two and a half years through injury before returning for last season's title run, and he is back to somewhere near his best in 2022-23, scoring 21.9 points per game and leading the NBA in made threes (295).

"I've played a full season. I've missed like 13 games or whatever, but to play in almost 70 games is a huge milestone for me," Thompson said.

"To shake off the early season rust and have the shooting year I did is even more impressive.

"I give myself a pat on the back for those years of so much hard work when nobody was watching. Those were really tough times for me, and I persevered and still am hungry to be even greater than I was."

Next, though, focus turns to a must-win game in Portland, where the Warriors are 2-7 since 2017-18 – their fourth-worst road record against any opponent in that span.

Thompson added: "Anything can happen in this league, but we've got to go up there and just take care of business and play with that Warriors brand of basketball that's made us the dynasty we are."

Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson was relieved to finally snap a streak of 11 consecutive road losses after beating the Houston Rockets 121-108 on Monday.

The Warriors came into the clash against their once-heated rivals with the third-worst away record in the NBA at 7-29, having not won away from Chase Center since January 30.

It was far from smooth sailing against the 18-54 Rockets, as the home side pulled in front late in the third quarter, but the 'Splash Brothers' combination of Thompson and Stephen Curry refused to let another one slip.

They combined for 21 points in the final period, and 59 for the game as they each finished with five made three-pointers.

When asked after the win about Golden State's recent trouble on the road, Thompson said: "I think trouble would be an understatement – it's been a rollercoaster on the road this year.

"You'll take any win you can get, especially at this point of the season. We're fighting for our playoff lives and we responded well after a beatdown in Memphis."

While the current Rockets team is a far cry from the juggernaut that pushed the Kevin Durant-led Warriors to a seven-game series back in 2018, Thompson said he still uses those memories as motivation when he heads to Houston.

"We didn't look at their record," he said. "I actually told myself I was pretending we were playing the 2018 Rockets, where it was a battle every time we used to play those guys,

"They're still young, they're talented, and you can't take anybody lightly. Every win we get is just a huge win, so I think we all understood that going into the game, and although it was close there I think we did a good job in the second half of playing our brand of ball.

"[We need] extreme urgency, we've got to take every game so seriously. You always do – 82 games, it's tough to be great all of them – but nine left, we have to treat these like a playoff buffer, and I know we will."

Head coach Steve Kerr told reporters he could not even remember their last away victory, and believed his team got away with a mediocre performance.

"It's been a long time," he said. "I don't remember the last road game we won – it's been a while.

"January 30th? Thanks, that doesn't make me feel any better. But we needed it, obviously.

"I actually felt like we played decently in the first three games of this trip – lost all three, but had our chances in all three. I liked our effort, I liked a lot of our execution.

"Ironically, I thought this was the worst of the four games we've played on this trip, but obviously we were playing a different calibre of team. 

"The first three we were battling against those teams for the playoffs – Memphis have won of the best records in the league – and Houston have had a rough season. 

"We had to come in tonight with a focus that was unfortunately not there – that was the issue with the first half – but eventually we got there."

The win, combined with the Dallas Mavericks' loss, meant the Warriors leapfrogged them out of the play-in tournament placings and up into the sixth seed, where they have a half-game buffer on the chasing pack.

The Golden State Warriors snapped a run of 11 consecutive road losses by defeating the Houston Rockets 121-108 on Monday.

Entering the game with the third-worst road record in the league (7-29), the Warriors had not won away from home since January 30 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

After a back-and-forth first three quarters, the Warriors called on the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, to close the show, igniting a 37-28 final period to pull away.

The duo combined for 21 points in the fourth quarter, and they finished with remarkably similar games.

Curry top scored with 30 points on 10-of-23 shooting, hitting five-of-15 from deep with seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. Meanwhile, Thompson posted 29 points on 11-of-21 shooting, hitting five-of-13 from deep with seven rebounds, a steal and a block.

With promising young Rockets center Alperen Sengun out, it was an opportunity for first-round rookie Tari Eason to earn his fourth start of the season, and he capitalised with 21 points (nine-of-16), 12 rebounds and four steals. Third overall pick Jabari Smith Jr added 17 points (seven-of-15) and 11 rebounds.

With the win, the Warriors pulled above .500 at 37-36, and combined with the Dallas Mavericks' 112-108 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, they have climbed out of the play-in tournament placings and up into the sixth seed in the West.

Knicks waste Randle's career night

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle scored a career-high 57 points as his side went down in a 140-134 shoot-out against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Randle had never previously scored more than 47 in a game, but he shot 19-of-29 from the field, eight-of-14 from three-point range and 11-of-13 from the free-throw line to set a new benchmark.

Unfortunately for him, the Timberwolves also could not miss, shooting 14-of-24 (58.3 per cent) from three-point range as a team, as they were buoyed by an outrageously efficient night from veteran wing Taurean Prince. 

Prince shot 12-of-13 from the field and a perfect eight-of-eight from three for 35 points, while veteran point guard Mike Conley ran the show with 24 points (six-of-11) and 11 assists.

The Timberwolves (36-37) sit eighth in the West, just a game behind the Warriors.

Embiid fouls out in double-overtime loss

Joel Embiid led both teams in scoring and rebounding but crucially fouled out in double-overtime as his Philadelphia 76ers fell 109-105 against the Chicago Bulls.

Embiid, now the favourite to win his first MVP, scored a game-high 37 points (11-of-22 shooting), grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, and blocked a game-high three shots before picking up his sixth foul early in the second extra period.

Zach LaVine top scored for Chicago with 26 points (eight-of-20), seven assists and three steals, while DeMar DeRozan was just as good with 25 points (10-of-22), eight rebounds and three steals.

The win gives the Bulls (34-37) a two-game buffer on the Washington Wizards (32-39) in the race for the East's final play-in spot.

The Golden State Warriors' NBA title defence has so far been beset by problems – primarily the absences of key personnel.

Even now, there remains no return date for Andrew Wiggins, who has played only 37 of 69 games this season and missed the past 12 for personal reasons.

Stephen Curry is back now but has sat for 26 games this year.

Although the Warriors' most-used lineup in the 2022 playoffs – including both Wiggins and Curry – has again been their most-used lineup in this regular season, it has started just a third of their games.

Yet that does not explain a quite remarkable trend that has developed across this campaign and now causes the Warriors real concern as they go on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Golden State have won their past eight home games, the longest active streak in the NBA, yet they have lost their past eight road games, also the league's longest active streak.

This form extends beyond the past month, too.

Ahead of Tuesday's games, the Warriors possess the fourth-best home record at 29-7, actually improving on last year's winning percentage after a 31-10 performance at Chase Center en route to taking the title.

However, on the road, only tanking duo the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets are worse off than the Warriors, who are an alarming 7-26.

Those contrasting records are still good enough to have the Warriors fifth in the Western Conference, but they are 1.5 games behind the fourth-placed Phoenix Suns, meaning Golden State are set to miss out on home advantage for every round of the playoffs. Clearly, that is an issue.

The Warriors' eight-game losing streak on the road has included each of their prior three games in Los Angeles this season, beaten by the Clippers on Valentine's Day ahead of defeats to the Lakers in consecutive road games. All of their eight straight losses have come against Western Conference rivals.

Now, this latest game at the Clippers – who are sixth in the West with an identical record to the Warriors – marks the start of a five-game road trip, with eight of Golden State's final 13 matchups away from San Francisco.

Their home record may have kept them competitive to this point, but hopes for success in the postseason will require vast improvement on the road moving forward.

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Los Angeles Clippers – Kawhi Leonard

As for several Warriors stars, this has been another stop-start season for Leonard, yet he has started seven of the Clippers' eight games since the All-Star break and is finally building momentum again.

Leonard had averaged 22.1 points prior to the All-Star break but has scored 31.0 points per game since then. That is tied for the sixth-best mark in that time, along with Curry.

Golden State Warriors – Klay Thompson

Curry has actually averaged more points on the road this season (30.3) than at home (28.9), but he has lacked support in away games because the same has not been true of team-mate Thompson.

The 33-year-old has scored 24.8 points at home but just 19.0 on the road. However, he has still averaged 24.6 points in those rare road wins.

Golden State will need Curry and Thompson to turn up together to get their road form back on track.

KEY BATTLE – Fast start vital

As much as any Clipper, the Warriors will be battling themselves in the first quarter. Their slow starts in road games have been ever so costly.

Golden State have trailed through the first quarter of 17 games on the road this season. They are an incredible 0-17 in those games.

The Warriors must either make a rapid start or rediscover the sort of championship grit that would allow them to recover when they are up against it on their travels.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

The Warriors are 2-1 against the Clippers this season, although those two wins have of course come in San Francisco.

Since 2019, Golden State have won just one of five road games against the Clippers. They had won eight of nine such matchups prior to that in a series they have dominated 137-94 all-time.

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