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Warriors win nail-biter against Clippers, Cavs narrowly defeat Knicks
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 27: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against the Houston Rockets in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 27, 2015 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Curry scores 31 to lead Warriors past Clippers, 112-108
OAKLAND, Calif. : After four lopsided wins to open the season, the Golden State Warriors were happy to find themselves in a nail-biter for a change.
It sure helps that they have the MVP on their side.
Stephen Curry scored 31 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with just over a minute to go that led the defending champion Warriors to their fifth straight win to open the season, 112-108 over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
“It was good for us to feel a little bit of adversity against a good team like that,” Curry said. “We’re not going to blow everybody out this year. We answered the bell.”
The Warriors had outscored their opponents by a record 100 points in the first four games but fell behind by 10 in the fourth quarter to the Clippers. Harrison Barnes then scored 10 of his 17 points during the 16-2 spurt with Golden State's small-ball lineup to turn the tide.
Chris Paul scored 24 points and Blake Griffin added 23 for the Clippers, who also had won their first four games of the season to give extra meaning to this early season matchup.
An offseason war of words that has been waged between Rivers and several Warriors about what role luck played in their championship last season only added to the drama.
The Clippers went ahead 106-105 when DeAndre Jordan made one of two free throws with 1:16 to play. Curry answered with his seventh 3-pointer to give the Warriors the lead for good as they became the fifth team to start consecutive seasons with five straight wins.
Both Paul and Curry dealt with early foul trouble, with Curry going to the bench with two fouls less than three minutes into the game and Paul being forced to sit early in the third quarter with his fourth.
Both teams actually rallied without their star point guards, with Golden State building a 17-point lead early in the second quarter and the Clippers rallying to the lead with Paul on the bench in the third.
Curry has scored 179 points, the most through five games since Michael Jordan had 182 in 1991-92. Jordan is the only player in the past 35 years to score more in the first five games, having topped Curry's mark three times.
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 26: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers brings the ball up court against the Atlanta Hawks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 26, 2015 at The Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
LeBron scores 23, rips jersey in Cavs' 96-86 win over Knicks
CLEVELAND: The jersey was too tight and so was the score. LeBron James took care of both.
James scored 23 points and did some quick tailoring on Cleveland's body-hugging, sleeved uniforms, Mo Williams added 22 and the Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 96-86 over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.
James made a 3-pointer and dunked off a nice pass from Williams while scoring 11 in the fourth quarter, when the Cavs outscored the Knicks 26-17
Tristan Thompson grabbed 13 rebounds and Kevin Love had 12 for Cleveland, which hasn't lost since opening night in Chicago. The Cavs didn't have their same ball movement, and they fell behind 15 in the first quarter before finding their groove in the second half, outscoring New York 58-40.
Frustrated with his shot in the first half, an irritated James ripped the sleeves on Cleveland's new, black jerseys. The four-time MVP, who has complained in the past that the retro-looking tops are too snug on his arms and shoulders, tore his jersey in the midst of a 4-of-11 shooting performance in the opening 24 minutes.
"I was just frustrated with myself," he said. "I was just off rhythm and the jersey is the only thing I can go to. I couldn't do nothing to my face. I couldn't make a bucket so I had to take it out on something."
Carmelo Anthony scored 17 and rookie Kristaps Porzingis 13 for the Knicks, who were even at 75-all in the fourth when James went to work.
Cleveland's star capped a 12-4 spurt with a 3-pointer - just his second this season - to give Cleveland an 87-79 lead with 4:01 remaining. Later, he blasted down the lane and thundered home his dunk off a great look from Williams.
James, who earlier this week became the youngest player in league history to reach 25,000 points, had an off-night from the field, going just 9 of 23.
The jersey might have had something to do with it.
James has never liked the sleeved tops, introduced by the NBA as an alternate look two seasons ago. Following a loss to San Antonio in 2014 when he was with Miami, James said the uniforms are restrictive, making it difficult to shoot.
The Cavaliers will be required to wear this jersey three to six times this season. James was asked if he'd wear sleeves again.
"If the fans love them, I love them," he said, giving a diplomatic answer. "If our fans love the uniforms, I'll wear them for 48 (minutes). I'm so used to the sleeveless cutoffs, the tank top. I've been playing in tank tops all my life."
Results: LA Clippers 108 lost to Golden State Warriors 112; Portland Trailblazers 108 beat Utah Jazz 92; Sacramento Kings 97 lost to Phoenix Suns 118; Toronto Raptors 103 beat Oklahoma City Thunder 98; Philadelphia 76ers 87 lost to Milwaukee Bucks 91; Orlando Magic 114 lost to Houston Rockets 119; New York Knicks 86 lost to Cleveland Cavaliers 96; Brooklyn Nets 87 lost to Atlanta Hawks 101
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