Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson led the Golden State Warriors to a magnificent come-from-behind victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday on a record-breaking night for Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook.
Curry and Thompson — the fabled "Splash Brothers" of the Warriors offense — combined for 52 points as the Dubs overturned a 29-7 deficit to secure a 110-98 win over their Western Conference rivals.
The win saw Golden State tighten their grip on the top seed position in the conference standings, improving to 61-14 as second-placed San Antonio slipped to 57-17.
The Warriors victory hands the Oakland franchise a psychological boost as they head into the playoffs next month, where they could ultimately face San Antonio for a place in the NBA Finals.
"We're on the right track," Curry said. "We don't win a championship in this game but we understand we're getting better as we get to the playoffs and that's really the only focus right now. We want to keep it up."
Curry finished with 29 points while Thompson weighed in with 23. Andre Iguodala (14) and David West (15) also posted double figure tallies for the Dubs.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was blunt in his assessment of the game, describing the Warriors as the best team in the NBA.
"They played great, they all played great," Popovich said. "They just played better. Curry, Thompson — they all made shots. That's why they're the best team in the league."
In Orlando meanwhile, Oklahoma star Westbrook was feted with loud chants of "MVP, MVP" by Orlando Magic fans after an electrifying performance.
Westbrook finished with 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists as the Thunder rolled to a 114-106 win in overtime at Orlando's Amway Center.
It was Westbrook's fourth consecutive triple-double and his 38th of an incredible season. It also set a new record as the highest-scoring triple-double in NBA history.
Closing in on history
The 28-year-old is now just three shy of equalling Oscar Robertson's longstanding NBA record for triple-doubles in a single season. The win helped the Thunder improve to 43-31 while the Magic are now at 27-48 after a second consecutive defeat.
Westbrook said his hunger to scale new heights had inspired him. "You just got to want it more than other people," Westbrook said. "I don't think about getting tired. I just keep going and going. I don't think about it. I just think about making the next play, making winning basketball plays. I'm blessed."
The highlight of Westbrook's masterclass was a devastating late burst of scoring which saw him net 19 points in the final six minutes of regulation time, draining a three-pointer with seven seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
"Russell was spectacular coming down the stretch and the way he closed the game," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "Overall, it's just incredible what he's doing now. He played an exceptional second half again. He just has an incredible competitive spirit."
Magic coach Frank Vogel ranked Westbrook's display as one of the greatest in history. "That (Westbrook's performance) was one of the best," Magic coach Frank Vogel said. "It's tough to rank those over the years, but it's right up there with the best. Give him credit."
In the Eastern Conference, Boston were knocked off top spot after slipping to a 103-100 win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 22 points as the Bucks dug in for an important win.
"They're really good," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "They've been one of the best teams in the East over the past month and a half. I'm not surprised at their level, and their level is really high."
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Mar 30, 2017 14:33:59 IST