Familiar formula helps Golden State Warriors top Miami Heat

By Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 25, 2016 at 1:31 AM
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MIAMI -- Coach Steve Kerr made it clear: He's no dummy.

He lets his backcourt shoot, and the results were obvious last season when the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship, this season when his team is off to a record pace and on Wednesday night when they rallied to beat the Miami Heat 118-112 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry scored 42 points, and shooting guard Klay Thompson added 33 points, including 15 straight in the fourth quarter.

Kerr was asked if he were ever concerned that Curry and Thompson would miss.

"I think the other team is worried when those shots go up," Kerr said. "Steph has license to shoot anytime he wants. I'd be an idiot if I didn't let him shoot anytime he wants."

The same can be said for Thompson, who subbed back in with 8:06 left in the game and the Warriors trailing 90-89. Thompson scored eight seconds later to begin a barrage that included three three-pointers, two layups and a 14-foot step-back jumper in four-plus minutes of action.

"I was getting good looks all night, but I had to stick with it because a lot of them were going in and out," said Thompson, who made 13 of 25 shots from the floor, including 4-of-8 on three-pointers and 3-of-3 on free throws.

After Thompson's fireworks, Curry took over as he scored 10 of the Warriors' final 14 points. That included two straight three pointers from well beyond the line -- officially they were listed as 27- and 26-footers. The second of those shots gave the Warriors a 110-108 lead that it did not relinquish.

For the game, Curry made 14-of-29 from the floor, including 6-of-12 on three-pointers. He was also 8-for-8 from the foul line and added seven assists and seven rebounds.

"Steph has incredible take-over ability," Thompson said of Curry. "We can both get hot. ... I try to play at his level, but ..."

Thompson may not be quite there, but he is very close, which is why the Warriors (51-5) earlier this week became the quickest team to reach 50 wins in NBA history.

Golden State, which also got 10 points and 11 rebounds from forward Draymond Green on Wednesday, is 14-1 in its past 15 games.

Miami (32-25) was led by guard Dwyane Wade's 32 points, his second 30-plus game this season. The Heat also got 21 points and 13 rebounds from center Hassan Whiteside and a career-high 15 points from rookie guard Josh Richardson.

In addition, Miami forward Luol Deng had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

"I thought the Heat outplayed us most of the game," Kerr said of a Miami team that had its three-game win streak snapped. "But when Stephen and Klay shoot like that on the same night, we are tough to beat. They took over in the fourth quarter."

Early on, though, it was all Miami. The Heat led 30-21 after the first quarter, and the advantage would have been much greater if not for Curry, who scored 14 points, including a 35-footer that beat the buzzer to end the period.

Wade and Whiteside each shot 5-of-5 in the first quarter, and the Heat was accurate on 56.0 percent from the floor.

Golden State cut its deficit to 55-51 at halftime, helped by Thompson's 10 second-quarter points.

"I thought we embraced the competition," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of his team's performance.

There were just two lead changes in the first two quarters but eight in the third. Curry scored 14 points in the third as Golden State cut Miami's lead to 83-80.

In the fourth quarter, there were 13 more lead changes before the Warriors finally subdued the Heat.

"It was a great game," Whiteside said. "It was exciting for the fans. I felt like we were right there. They made one or two tough shots, but we were right there down the stretch."

NOTES: Heat backup PG Beno Udrih is out for the season due to right foot surgery. With F Chris Bosh (blood clots) and G Tyler Johnson (left shoulder) out long-term, Miami is down to only 10 healthy players. ... Heat C Hassan Whiteside and Warriors F Draymond Green have engaged in a Twitter war over the past several months. Green, in essence, said he had more money than Whiteside and said his rival is a D-League player. ... The Warriors entered Wednesday leading the league in scoring, assists, defensive rebounding, two-point shooting percentage and three-point shooting percentage. ... When C Anderson Varejao signed with the Warriors on Monday, he gave Golden State two of the top three Brazilian-born scorers in NBA history. Washington Wizards F Nene is No. 1 in that category, Warriors G Leandro Barbosa is second and Varejao is third.

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