BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Further short-handed by the absence of Draymond Green, the Warriors rode a balanced team effort to overcome a poor start and score an improbable 120-112 win in overtime against the Miami Heat Wednesday night at Chase Center.
Already playing without a legitimate big man while both James Wiseman (sprained left wrist) and Kevon Looney (left ankle sprain) rehabilitate from injuries, Golden State fell behind 58-39 with two minutes left in the second quarter and were never able to get closer than seven points against the defending Eastern Conference champions until a 24-9 run late in the final quarter forced the game into overtime.
With Green a late scratch due to right ankle soreness, the Warriors struggled until their late run with Steph Curry ice cold from the field. But Curry (8-25 from the field) was there when it mattered most, converting a trio of three-pointers down the stretch along with assisting on a clutch three by Andrew Wiggins with only 40 seconds remaining. Despite going 5-20 from beyond the arc, Curry finished with 25 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.
Kent Bazemore continued to impress in his return to the Warriors, scoring a game-high 26 points on 10-19 shooting to go along with eight rebounds. Andre Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. each added 23 points and eight boards for Golden State.
Miami was led by Bam Adebayo’s 24 points. Kendrick Nunn contributed 19 while Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson and Precious Achiuwa each pitched in 13. Butler finished with a triple-double, adding 12 rebounds and 11 assists to his effort. Tyler Herro had a game-high 15 rebounds off the bench. Andre Iguodala scored 10 points against his old team.
After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was jubilant about the effort. ““It was just a great, great win. The guys played so hard the whole night. In the first half and just couldn’t get a shot to drop. Miami was playing very well. We came in down 15 at the half, but it felt like a game we could still win. In the second half, we did a great job rebounding the ball and our defense really picked up. We haven’t won three in a row all year, so we got a chance in Orlando to start this trip.”
Kerr also sung the praises of Bazemore: “Baze is great. He’s frenetic out there and plays with great energy. He’s kind of all over the map. He has his moments where he makes plays where he gets out of control but also makes really athletic, powerful moves to the rim, with steals, and fastbreak layups/dunks. He makes an impact. Tonight, I thought he was the difference. His play in the second half really was the key.”
The Warriors now head out for a four game road trip starting Friday night in Orlando before returning to Chase Center February 26th for a matchup with the Charlotte Hornets.
The win snapped Golden State’s 10-game overtime-losing streak. The 10-game streak was tied for the longest such streak in NBA-history.
The Warriors 15-point comeback in the fourth quarter was the largest of the Steve Kerr era. They had been 0-80 when down by that much in the fourth.
With the win, the Warriors surpassed their 2019-20 win total (15).
The last time Golden State had four 20-point scorers in the same contest was 11/23/16 vs. the Lakers, when Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Ian Clark each scored 20-plus points.
Bazemore’s 26 points were a season-high.
Wiseman is scheduled to have his sprained left wrist examined again Thursday and if all is well could return as soon as Friday vs. the Magic.
The Heat dropped to 4-10 on the road with their third straight loss away from home.