PHOENIX (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 42 points and the Golden State Warriors held off the Phoenix Suns 120-111 for their season-high 13th straight win, clinching the best record in the NBA for the third straight season.
Curry scored 23 in the first quarter when the Warriors blew open a 41-18 lead, but the Suns rallied with a 34-17 second quarter and made a game of it from there.
Alan Williams scored 16 and grabbed a career-best 17 rebounds for Phoenix.
Golden State became the first team have the NBA’s best record for three consecutive seasons since the Boston Celtics did it in 1983-84, ’84-’85 and ’85-’86. The Warriors, Boston – multiple times – and Philadelphia are the only franchises in NBA history to achieve that feat.
The Warriors also are the first team to win at least 65 games in three straight seasons.
Klay Thompson scored 22 for the Warriors, including a critical late 3-pointer.
With the Spurs’ loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors are 65-14, 4 1/2 games ahead of San Antonio. Golden State has three games to play, San Antonio four.
The Warriors raced to that 23-point lead after one quarter, but Phoenix outscored Golden State 34-17 in the second quarter to cut it to 58-52 at the break.
The Suns got it to four twice early in the third quarter and were down just 82-76 after Ronnie Price made two free throws with 1:51 left in the period. But Golden State finished the quarter with a 9-2 run, including five points by Curry, to lead 91-78 entering the fourth.
But the Suns, with the worst record in the West and second-worst in the NBA, didn’t fold.
A 10-0 Phoenix run sliced Golden State’s advantage to 104-101 on Ulis’ 20-footer with 5:01 to play. Curry responded with his eighth and final 3-pointer, but the Suns twice cut it to four again – the last at 109-105 after Ulis made a pair of free throws 2:29 from the finish.
Thompson’s 3, only his second in nine tries, made it 112-107 with 1:46 to play and JaVale McGee‘s rebound dunk put the Warriors ahead 114-107 with 1:34 left. Phoenix twice cut the lead to five before Curry sealed it with a driving layup and two free throws in the final 32.3 seconds.
Kevin Durant is targeting a Saturday night at home against the New Orleans Pelicans for his return from a sprained MCL and bruised thigh.
Durant has missed 19 games since being injured against Washington on Feb. 28.
He will return with three games left in the regular season.
Warriors: Golden State has beaten Phoenix 10 straight times. … Golden State shot 62 percent (16 of 26) in the first quarter, and 24 percent (5-for-21) in the second.
Suns: Phoenix has not won since deciding to shut down a healthy Eric Bledsoe for the season on March 15. … Rookie Marquese Chriss drew his 10th technical foul. … The 17-point Warriors second quarter tied for the lowest by a Phoenix opponent this season. … With the Lakers’ win, the Suns are 1 1/2 games worse than Los Angeles for the worst record in the West and second-worst in the NBA.
Warriors: Golden State returns home to face New Orleans on Saturday night, with Durant expected to make his return.
Suns: Phoenix is home Friday night against Oklahoma City, with Russell Westbrook seeking to break the NBA record he shares with Oscar Robertson with a 42nd triple-double this season.