Golden State Warriors take the Miami Heat
Durant top-scores with 39 points as Cousins' two free-throws are the deciders
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 39 points as the NBA champions Golden State Warriors rallied from an early 19-point deficit to edge out the Miami Heat 120-118 yesterday morning (Singapore time).
DeMarcus Cousins sank two free-throws with 5.4 seconds left to play to help the Warriors hold off the Heat, who fell eight behind in the fourth quarter but took a 118-115 lead with 51.5 seconds left after back-to-back steals and baskets from Josh Richardson and Dwyane Wade.
Durant responded with his first three-pointer of the contest - after six misses from beyond the arc - to tie the game and Cousins made his free- throws to seal the Warriors' 15th win in their last 16 games.
"We knew it was going to be a game they came out and played hard on both ends of the court," Durant said.
"They came out and hit us in the mouth early, but I like how we withstood the storm and kept fighting."
Durant said there was no mystery to the Warriors' comeback, fuelled by a 12-0 scoring run early in the third quarter.
"We were just locked in, playing our brand," he said.
"We moved the ball, we made shots after a while - it took us a while to wake up on Sunday."
Klay Thompson scored 29 points for the Warriors and Stephen Curry, after a rocky first quarter with just three points, finished with 25.
Richardson led the Heat with 37 points. Wade added 10 off the bench, two days after a frightening fall in Sacramento.
Joel Embiid scored 37 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to power the Philadelphia 76ers over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers 143-120 in a match-up of high-profile NBA clubs.
The 2.13m Cameroonian was supported by 22 points from Tobias Harris and 21 from JJ Redick in a romp over LeBron James and the Lakers, who fell to 28-28.
At 36-20, the 76ers pulled within 5.5 games of Eastern Conference leaders Milwaukee Bucks as Embiid pondered the team's title hopes.
"We've got a chance, especially this year. We've got to keep working," he said.
"I plan on being here for a long time. This is my city."
James had 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a losing cause.
In Sacramento, rookie Marvin Bagley III scored a career-high 32 points as the Kings coasted past the Phoenix Suns 117-104.
Bagley shot 10 of 15 from the field and 11 of 13 from the free-throw line to eclipse his previous high of 24 points, which he recorded last week in Sacramento's win over San Antonio Spurs.
Buddy Hield chipped in 18 points while Bogdan Bogdanovic added 14 for the Kings.
In Dallas, rookie sensation Luka Doncic scored 28 points, with five coming in the decisive final 2:27, to lead the Dallas Mavericks past the Portland Trail Blazers 102-101.
Doncic scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, a stanza in which Dallas trailed 96-81 with 10:43 to play.
Portland built that lead on Damian Lillard's incredible 21-point third quarter, all of which came in the final 5:19 of the period after Dallas came back from a 10-point half-time deficit to tie the game at 67.
In Atlanta, the Orlando Magic's centre Nikola Vucevic scored 19 points to lead seven Orlando players in double figures in a 124-108 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Vucevic was eight of 13 from the field and added 12 rebounds.
The Magic also got 18 points from Terrence Ross, 17 each from Jonathan Isaac and Evan Fournier, 14 points from DJ Augustin and 12 from Aaron Gordon. - AFP, REUTERS