SAN FRANCISCO – The Golden State Warriors kept their National Basketball Association (NBA) title defence alive on Wednesday with a 121-106 home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, who saw star centre Anthony Davis depart after taking a blow to the head.
With the win, the Warriors cut the deficit in their Western Conference semi-final series to 3-2.
In the East, the New York Knicks also stayed alive at 3-2 down as Jalen Brunson scored 38 points in a 112-103 victory over the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden.
Golden State and New York now must win on the road on Friday to give themselves a chance to win their respective series on Sunday.
Only 13 NBA teams have rallied from 3-1 down to win a series. The Warriors did it against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference Finals – then a Cleveland Cavaliers team led by LeBron James did the same against them in the NBA Finals.
“Coming into this game, we just wanted to win one, give ourselves a chance, knowing that we have a big Game 6 down in LA and we obviously need that one to stay alive,” Warriors star Stephen Curry told broadcaster TNT.
The guard scored 27 points to lead six Warriors players in double figures. Andrew Wiggins scored 25 points and Draymond Green delivered a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
“All the way up and down the roster there were contributions,” Curry added.
The Lakers are unbeaten at home this post-season, but they could find themselves without Davis, who departed in the fourth quarter after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from Golden State’s Kevon Looney.
A rattled Davis, who scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds, headed for the bench and was eventually helped to the locker room, not returning to the game.
“He took a shot to the head,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said after the game. “He seems to be doing really good already. That’s the status right now.”
James led the Lakers with 25 points, but Los Angeles could not match the energy of the desperate Warriors.
In New York, the Knicks built a 19-point lead in the third quarter then fended off a late Miami charge to claim victory.
“You’ve got to give them credit, that’s a hard team to play,” said Brunson, who played all 48 minutes. “But we just came out to fight.
“We didn’t get discouraged with the 10-point deficit in the first quarter, we just kept fighting.”
RJ Barrett scored 26 points and Julius Randle shrugged off an early blow to the eye to add 24 for the Knicks.
Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 19 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.
Bam Adebayo added 18 points and Duncan Robinson scored 17 off the bench for Miami, who are trying to become just the second eighth-seeded team – after the 1999 Knicks – to reach the conference Finals. AFP