NBA: Stephen Curry comes back from injury to lead Warriors to victory; LeBron James denied win on birthday by Jazz

Los Angeles: Stephen Curry spiced things up with 10 three-pointers and 38 points as he returned from injury Saturday to propel the Golden State Warriors to a 141-128 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Sidelined for 11 games with a sprained right ankle, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Curry was electrifying in his return.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry reacts after scoring during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. The Warriors won 141-128. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Stephen Curry reacts after scoring against the Memphis Grizzlies. AP

His 10 three-pointers — in just 26 minutes on the court — surpassed Portland guard Damian Lillard's nine as the most by any player in a game this season.

The Warriors were a more than respectable 9-2 in Curry's absence. But with him back on the court, their prolific offence was in full flow.

Klay Thompson added 21 points, Kevin Durant scored 20 and Zaza Pachulia added 13 as the Warriors shook off the second-quarter ejection of Draymond Green — who received two technical fouls for arguing foul calls.

"Our flow as a team from the beginning was amazing," said Curry, who nailed a layup off an assist from Green in his second minute back.

A minute later he drained a three-pointer as the Warriors raced to a 10-0 lead just 2:08 into the contest.

Curry had four three-pointers in both the second and third periods and added one more for good measure in a brief appearance in the fourth — his ninth career game with 10 or more from beyond the arc.

He said the reigning NBA champion Warriors, who improved to 29-8, are perfectly positioned heading into the new year.

"I think we're right where we want to be," he said. "Best record in the league. We've shown we can win a lot of different ways."

Spanish big man Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 27 points, one of six Memphis players to score in double figures.

But the Grizzlies lost for the 13th time in 17 games since sacking coach David Fizdale on 27 November.

Jazz top Cavs

In Salt Lake City, Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points to lead the Jazz to a 104-101 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers — denying LeBron James the victory he wanted for his 33rd birthday.

Mitchell slashed his way past James for a layup with 35.4 seconds remaining as the Jazz thwarted a Cleveland comeback bid that saw the Cavs pull within one point three times in the fourth quarter after trailing by double digits in the third.

"I'm just treating the last two minutes as if it's the same as the first two," Mitchell said. "You've just got to go out there. If you over-think it, that's the first mistake right there."

Late free throws from Thabo Sefolosha and Derrick Favors finally sealed the win for Utah.

James scored 29 points and added eight rebounds — eclipsing 8,000 rebounds for his career.

The four-time NBA Most Valuable Player was impressed by what he saw from Mitchell.

"Kid's got a lot of game," James said. 'he's not afraid of the moment. He just goes out there and plays ball."

Reggie Bullock's big night pushed the Detroit Pistons to a 93-79 home victory over perennial Western Conference power San Antonio.

Bullock, who started in just seven games in his first four NBA seasons and became a regular starter for the Pistons in early December, scored a career-high 22 points.

He was also a key contributor in a strong defensive display by a Pistons team again playing without injured point guard Reggie Jackson and shooting guard Avery Bradley and with top reserve Stanley Johnson also sidelined.

"I'm just trying to do it all to help my team with players down and it's working out for me," Bullock said.

Kawhi Leonard led the San Antonio with 18 points — half of them coming from the foul line. LaMarcus Aldridge added 15 for the Spurs, who scored a season-low in points.


Updated Date: Dec 31, 2017 12:32 PM

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