LOS ANGELES, (AFP) - Stephen Curry sank a late tie-breaking jump shot en route to 28 points as the Golden State Warriors beat the Philadelphia 76ers 120-117 in a potential NBA finals matchup on Saturday.
Curry also added two late free throws and a layup for the two-time defending league champion Warriors, who wanted to get their March schedule off to a flying start after a stagnant February.
Kevin Durant delivered a game-high 34 points, and DeMarcus Cousins had his highest-scoring game since joining Golden State with 25 as the Warriors snapped a two-game losing streak.
“Both teams are trying to get ready for the playoffs so the intensity was up,” said Durant.
Curry’s tie-breaking jumper made it 113-111 with 2:35 to go after 76ers backup Mike Scott had hit two free throws to produce the third and final tie of the fourth quarter.
First place Golden State, who went 7-4 in February, have never had a losing trip of four or more games in the coach Steve Kerr era.
Ben Simmons finished with a triple double with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists for the second place 76ers, who came into the game off a two-game road sweep of New Orleans and Oklahoma City.
The Warriors had almost everybody available on Saturday after resting key players in their recent losses, but the 76ers were without star big man Joel Embiid.
The all-star centre has missed the past four games with tendinitis in his left knee and coach Brett Brown isn’t sure exactly when he will be able to return.
Embiid, averaging 27.3 points and 13.5 rebounds in 54 games for the Sixers, said he expects to play again next week.
Klay Thompson did not play for Golden State because of a sore right knee.
Curry picked up his fourth foul with 8:15 left in the third and sat the rest of the quarter. But with Curry back in the lineup in the fourth, the Warriors thwarted the 76ers comeback bid.
“He took over the game for us,” Durant said of Curry. “We need that from him.”
Elsewhere, Donovan Mitchell scored a career-high 46 points as the Utah Jazz overcame Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 43 points and a 17-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 115-111.
Milwaukee’s Antetokounmpo also finished with 14 rebounds in 32 minutes, but missed three free throws in the final seconds.
Derrick Favors had 23 points and tied a career best with 18 rebounds.