SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stephen Curry’s tender tailbone much-improved, the two-time MVP led one of those furious finishes that defined Golden State during recent years and all those NBA Finals runs.
Kelly Oubre Jr. converted a pair of free throws with 7.7 seconds left to give Golden State the lead, and Milwaukee missed at the end as the Warriors held off the Bucks 122-121 on Tuesday night.
Curry knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:06 to play on the way to 41 points with five 3-pointers as his team came back late and worked until the final buzzer to snap a three-game losing streak.
“Honestly, I’m enjoying the night. You could see a lot of emotion tonight from everybody,” Curry said. “We all knew how much we needed this, and you want to maintain that joy and energy and hopefully come Friday, Saturday put together two really good performances and give yourself a chance to win and sustain that.”
Curry and his coach, Steve Kerr, shared an extra-long hug afterward and exhaled.
“When you lose whatever we’d lost in a row, a win deserves a hug,” Kerr said.
Jrue Holiday scored the go-ahead basket after his offensive rebound with 29 seconds left.
Andrew Wiggins’ driving dunk with 1:59 to play made it a one-point game, then Golden State got a defensive stop before Kent Bazemore put his team ahead the next time down.
Oubre wound up with 19 points and Bazemore scored 18 in just the Warriors’ second win in nine games. They trailed by 12 late in the third.
“Tonight was a good example of just kind of hanging in there after things had gone south on us and Milwaukee built that big lead in the second half,” Kerr said. “Really loved the energy and just the competitiveness that got us a win.”
Khris Middleton scored 28 points as Milwaukee again missed injured big man Giannis Antetokounmpo. Holiday finished with 29 points and knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers that weren’t quite enough.
Antetokounmpo sat out his second straight game with a sore left knee after missing a 129-128 win at Sacramento on Saturday. The two-time reigning MVP, who scored 47 points to match his season high in a 127-109 win over Portland on Friday, missed his fourth game out of the Bucks’ last nine after the hope had been he would play Tuesday.
“He was warming up tonight and just felt it a little bit,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Just made the decision that tonight was not a good night, a night he should be out.”
For the Warriors, this performance marked progress on many fronts: the energy on both ends, the attention to detail that had lacked during a particularly discouraging recent road trip — and, of course, the W result.
Curry shot 14 for 21 and 5 of 10 from deep. He had missed Friday’s game at Toronto with the bruised tailbone, then played nearly 37 minutes Sunday at Atlanta.
“I think we all should just stop and appreciate what he’s doing right now,” Bazemore said.
Milwaukee had won two in a row against Golden State, including a 138-99 rout on Christmas Day, and the Bucks saw the end to a three-game winning streak on the Warriors’ home floor.
Golden State came out shooting and made 7 of 11 to jump ahead 18-5 and force two early timeouts by the Bucks.
Kerr was pleased how his team responded after a tough week.
His pregame wish: “No. 1, defending without fouling would be awesome. That was so disappointing the other night to really play a good game overall and compete and have a chance to win and just hack our way to a loss.”
Bucks: Reserve F P.J. Tucker missed his seventh straight game with a strained left calf. He didn’t practice Monday and has played in only three games for the Bucks since they acquired him from Houston. … Holiday was named Eastern Conference player of the week Monday and had 33 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds at Sacramento without Antetokounmpo. Holiday signed a four-year extension Sunday that will be worth at least $134 million if he exercises the fourth-year option.
Warriors: Curry is just 88 points (17,695) from Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain’s career franchise scoring record of 17,783. … The Warriors hit five of their first six shots — 3s by Curry, Oubre and Wiggins — for a quick 13-3 lead and Bucks timeout at 9:30.
Bucks: At Dallas on Thursday night having won 21 straight against the Mavericks.
Warriors: Host Washington on Friday night in the first of two second-half matchups with the Wizards.
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