LOS ANGELES: PJ Washington scored 31 points, including six in overtime, as the Charlotte Hornets beat reigning NBA champion Golden State 120-113 as Stephen Curry’s hometown heroics didn’t pan out. The Oklahoma City Thunder also won in overtime on Saturday, edging the Mavericks in Dallas 117-111. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 38 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Dallas star Luka Doncic had a triple-double of 31 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, but the Mavs squandered a 16-point lead in the final five minutes of regulation.
It was also close in Utah, where three-point shots by Kelly Olynyk and Malik Beasley put the Jazz up 124-120 with 23 seconds remaining. Dillon Brooks nailed a three-pointer for Memphis with 15.6 seconds left, but the Grizzlies – playing without star Ja Morant – wouldn’t get another shot and Utah won 124-123. At Charlotte, Gordon Hayward scored 23 points and Kelly Oubre added 18 for the Hornets, who once again spoiled Warriors star Curry’s trip to the city where he played high school basketball and his father, Dell Curry, starred for the Hornets.
The Warriors haven’t won in Charlotte since February of 2019, and the Hornets kept that streak alive despite the absence of injured LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier. Curry led the Warriors with 31 points and 11 rebounds. He missed a contested three-pointer at the end of regulation that would have given Golden State the win. The Warriors, trailing 62-50 at halftime, battled back to seize a four-point lead on Andrew Wiggins’ dunk with 62 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but baskets from Washington and Dennis Smith tied it at 107-107 with 23.1 seconds remaining.
Curry had the ball as the clock ticked down, but could barely get the shot up in the face of swarming defense by Smith. “I got wrapped in the trying to play hero ball in a hometown buzzer-beater type situation,” Curry admitted. In overtime, Jalen McDaniels turned the tide for the Hornets with a three-pointer that put them up 114-111 with 2:01 remaining. Smith followed with a driving layup as the Hornets pulled away.
Pacers stun Nets
In Brooklyn, the Nets’ early-season struggles continued with a 125-116 loss to the Indiana Pacers. The Nets, featuring the superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, have lost four in a row to fall to 1-5 in the young season. Rookie Bennedict Mathurin scored a career-high 32 points for the Pacers, including a career-best six three-pointers. Overall, the Pacers poured in 23 three-pointers, tying the record for most three-pointers made against the Nets in a game. The Pacers also out-rebounded the Nets 53-34.
The Milwaukee Bucks, meanwhile, improved to 5-0 with a 123-115 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 of his 34 points in the second half and Jrue Holiday poured in another 34 for the Bucks, who battled back after slipping behind by one in the fourth quarter of a game in which they led by as many as 12. Antetokounmpo also pulled down 17 rebounds as the Bucks withstood a 42-point performance from Atlanta’s Trae Young.
In Sacramento, Kevin Huerter drained seven three-pointers on the way to 27 points to help the Kings post their first victory of the young season, 119-113 over the Miami Heat. The victory left the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers as the last remaining winless team in the league, and gave Mike Brown, hired to coach the Kings in the off-season, his first victory at the helm. The Kings led wire-to-wire, pushing the advantage to as many as 22 points, although the Kings sliced the deficit to one point midway through the fourth quarter. – AFP