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Warriors withstand scare to beat Bucks 115-110
Question of the Day
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Sweating out a win against the NBA’s worst team isn’t usually a cause for celebration.
For a franchise that has felt frustration and futility for most of the last two decades, Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson is making sure his players celebrate every milestone during their long climb back to contention.
Stephen Curry had 31 points and 11 assists, Klay Thompson scored 29 and the Warriors moved 18 games over .500 for the first time in 20 years with a 115-110 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.
“You can take it for granted. There’s people that’s 19 years old that’s never seen this. That’s a wow moment,” Jackson said. “It’s an incredible accomplishment, and we’ve still got a ways to go. But we’re going to park and enjoy it, take a deep breath, appreciate it and then continue to chase down our ultimate goals.”
Those goals - making the playoffs, earning home-court advantage in the first round and winning a championship - are all within reach, though some are further away than others.
Golden State (44-26) remains in sixth place in the tight Western Conference standings, 1½ games behind Portland and 2½ games ahead of Memphis and Dallas with 12 games left. The Warriors also trail fourth-place Houston by three games.
“We want to try and get that home court” in the first round, Thompson said. “It’s in striking distance.”
The Bucks (13-56) were handed another blow in a season full of them when guard Nate Wolters broke his left hand fighting through a screen in the first half. Reserve forward Jeff Adrien also received three stitches above his left eye before coming back in the second quarter.
Brandon Knight had 27 points and eight rebounds, and Ramon Sessions scored 18 for Milwaukee, which has lost six straight and nine of 10 as it finishes off a forgettable season.
“My guys played a very competitive game. We put ourselves in great position once again. We just couldn’t make the plays down the stretch,” Bucks coach Larry Drew said.
On one play late in the fourth quarter, Curry dribbled to his left and was fouled by Khris Middleton when he tossed the ball up - and in - with his right hand and his back to the basket. Curry shook his shoulders and waved his arms in celebration, and he completed the three-point play to give Golden State a 104-94 lead with 3:59 remaining.
“Once I got the contact, I was able to get the ball above my shoulders to try to find the rim at some point. And obviously that’s a lot of luck involved,” Curry said.
Milwaukee made one last run highlighted by Ersan Ilyasova’s three-point play that sliced the Warriors‘ lead to 108-105 with 56.2 seconds left. But Thompson quickly came back with a corner 3, and Curry made four free throws in the final seconds to seal a milestone win for the Bay Area’s beloved basketball franchise.
The last time the Warriors were 18 games over .500 was when they finished the 1993-94 season with a 50-32 record. They also remain on track to make the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons.
By Orrin G. Hatch
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