NBA: Curry magic as Warriors down Sixers, Embiid injury scare

AFP , Wednesday 31 Jan 2024

Stephen Curry conjured a 37-point masterclass as the Golden State Warriors sent the Philadelphia 76ers spinning to a fourth straight defeat with a 119-107 victory on Tuesday.

Philadelphia 76ers guard Patrick Beverly (22) shoots over Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, in San Francisco. Photo: AP


Warriors star Curry drained eight three-pointers in a devastating display of shooting that gave struggling Golden State and the Chase Center home crowd a much-needed lift after the team's shaky first half of the NBA season.

The Sixers meanwhile were left sweating on an injury to reigning Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid, who limped off in the fourth quarter after Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga fell heavily on his left knee as the two men wrestled for a loose ball.

Embiid, who sat out the Sixers' previous two games with knee and Achilles soreness, had been cleared to play on Tuesday shortly before tip-off.

But the Cameroon-born center was clearly not fully fit and appeared to be struggling to move freely throughout the game.

The decision to start Embiid looked even more questionable when he was hurt in the tussle with Kuminga late on.

"They're going to do an MRI tonight or tomorrow," Sixers head coach Nick Nurse said after the game. "It's unrelated to what's been bothering him, so we're just waiting on that.

"Obviously medical cleared him to play, and Joel was a big part of that. He said he was feeling good."

Curry meanwhile said the Warriors victory couldn't have come at a better time as the seven-time NBA champions look to get their season back on track.

The Warriors, who were left reeling earlier this month after the death of assistant coach Dejan Milojevic, are 12th in the Western Conference standings with a 20-24 record.

'Emotional ride'

"It's been an emotional ride for the whole team this whole year," Curry said after the win. "We've talked about the self-inflicted wounds – we lost games we should have won, have had some things off the court in our family, dealing with that.

"So there's always a sense of desperation for us. The vibes are as positive as they can be – but it's just good to have a night like tonight where we get a win, and get over the hump, and go back to the locker room and have something to smile about."

Elsewhere on Tuesday, the Boston Celtics held off a ferocious second-half rally to defeat the Indiana Pacers 129-124 while the Los Angeles Lakers crashed to another heavy defeat.

The NBA Eastern Conference-leading Celtics cruised into a 20-point first-half lead at the TD Garden against a Pacers lineup bolstered by the return of Tyrese Haliburton.

But Indiana came to life in the third quarter, outscoring Boston 37-25 to briefly edge into the lead before the Celtics regained control of the contest and closed out victory in the fourth.

Jayson Tatum led the Boston scoring with 30 points but it was the power forward's defensive prowess that helped seal the team's league-best 37th win of the season.

Tatum came up with two big blocks to deny Indiana down the stretch just when the Pacers were threatening to tie it up.

In other games, the Los Angeles Lakers slumped to an emphatic loss, going down 138-122 on the road in Atlanta.

The Lakers, beaten 135-119 in Houston on Monday, were given a torrid working over for a second straight night by the Hawks' potent offense.

Trae Young finished with 26 points, including six three-pointers, while Dejounte Murray scored 24.

Bogdan Bogdanovic provided a shooting clinic from the bench with 18 points, including 4-of-9 from three-point range.

The Lakers, missing the injured Anthony Davis, dropped to 24-25 after the loss and are ninth in the Western Conference table.

Lakers star LeBron James could not hide his frustration after his team's latest blowout defeat.

"We can on any given night beat any team in the NBA -- and then on any given night we can get our ass kicked by any team in the NBA," James said. "That's where we are."

In other games on Tuesday, the New York Knicks extended their recent winning streak to eight games with a 118-103 victory over the Utah Jazz, on the back of 33 points from Donte DiVincenzo, who made nine three-pointers.

In Chicago, the Toronto Raptors recovered from a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat the Bulls 118-107.

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