Kurt Helin

Associated Press

Watch Russell Westbrook’s gamble that helped change momentum for Spurs win

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It is tied 76-76 midway through the fourth quarter Sunday between Oklahoma City and San Antonio, and it was going to come down to smart plays and execution down the stretch.

San Antonio did that better and closed the game on a 17-9 stretch and got the win.

The momentum changed with this play — Russell Westbrook made a ridiculous gamble to go for a steal which left Danny Green wide open in the corner.

The Spurs never trailed after that point.

Westbrook admitted after the game that was a bad decision and said “that is my fault.”

But right now this is part of what’s holding the Thunder back from competing with the Spurs and Warriors. There are moments of bad gambles and bad decisions on both ends — not a ton, this is still an elite team, but enough that it costs them against the other elites of the league. A couple of minutes after Westbrook’s gamble Kevin Durant tried to reach and strip Kawhi Leonard with a gamble play out top, missed, and Leonard dribbled right to the elbow for an open jumper he knocked down.

In most seasons we’d be talking about this Thunder team as a contender, but the bar is higher this season. The execution and discipline down the stretch have to be sharper. And the Thunder have to hit a higher level of key shots. Games like Saturday make you question if they could do that four games out of seven.

Watch DeMar DeRozan drop 38 on Miami in Toronto win (VIDEO)

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These 38 points didn’t come easy for DeMar DeRozan — Miami recognized DeRozan had the hot hand and threw a variety of defenders at him. And they got physical with him (the referees let them play a little).

DeRozan kept his head and kept attacking — he was 6-of-9 inside eight feet of the rim and 13-of-26 shooting total on the night. Of that, 22 of his shots were contested (a testament to the Miami defense), but he hit 12 of those looks with a defender in his shirt.

Toronto got the win 112-104, with it the Raptors remain just two games back of Cleveland for the top seed in the East.

 

Blazers’ Ed Davis ejected for foul on Jason Smith (VIDEO)

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It came late in the third quarter, with Portland in complete control of the game.

Orlando’s Jason Smith put the ball on the floor and drove past Ed Davis, who fouled him with both arms coming over the top. After review, the referees saw it as a blow to the head of Smith, which is a flagrant two foul and an ejection.

Davis didn’t see it that way.

This didn’t change the trajectory of the game, as Portland won 121-84.

Brandon Knight puts Klay Thompson on skates (VIDEO)

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The Phoenix Suns put a little scare into Golden State Saturday night. Phoenix led by 10 at one point before the inevitable Golden State comeback.

The Suns best highlight of the night: Brandon Knight shook Klay Thompson, dropped him, and hit the shot.

Knight finished with 30. While the Suns made a game of it, the Warriors started the fourth on a 16-3 run, and later threw in a nother 14-0 run to make sure they pulled away for the win behind 35 points, including seven threes, from Stpehen Curry.

Curry’s big fourth quarter rallies Warriors past Suns

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 15 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter and the Golden State Warriors rallied from a nine-point deficit over the final 12 minutes to beat the Phoenix Suns 123-116 on Saturday night.

Curry, who spent most of the third quarter on the bench in foul trouble, made three of his seven 3-pointers in the fourth, including two as part of a 18-8 run to close out the game.

The NBA’s reigning MVP capped his night with a behind-the-back pass to Shaun Livingston for a layup that helped extend the Warriors’ record home winning streak to 48 games.

Golden State (59-6) also stayed one game ahead of the pace of the 1995-96 Bulls, who set an NBA record with 72 wins.

Marreese Speights added 25 points and nine rebounds off the bench, Klay Thompson scored 20 points and Draymond Green had 19 points and six assists.

Phoenix (17-49) didn’t go quietly.

The Suns trailed 68-58 early in the second half but stormed back to take a 95-86 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Brandon Knight sparked Phoenix’s burst with five of his career high-tying seven 3s. Knight, in his second game back after missing almost two months with a groin injury, finished with 30 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

The Warriors opened the final quarter with a 16-3 run but still trailed 108-105 with 5:50 to go.

Curry made two 3s sandwiched around a pair of dunks by Speights. Harrison Barnes then added two free throws to put Golden State up 119-108.

Alex Len and Knight scored on consecutive trips down the floor before Curry’s jumper slammed the door on the Suns.

TIP-INS

Suns: Knight had missed 21 games with a left adductor strain. . Phoenix went into the game leading the NBA with 22.6 fouls a game and was hit with 30 fouls against Golden State. . Len has 10 or more rebounds in a career-high eight straight games. The 7-1 Ukrainian had a double-double before halftime with 17 points and 10 boards. . The Suns have lost seven straight to the Warriors.

Warriors: Andre Iguodala‘s sprained left ankle is serious enough that the team has decided to shut down the veteran forward for the next two weeks. Iguodala, who hurt his ankle in Friday’s win over Portland, will be re-evaluated then before a decision is made what to do next. “It’s a big loss but we have a deep team and guys ready to step in for him,” coach Steve Kerr said.