The Golden State Warriors kept their NBA title defense alive on Wednesday with a 121-106 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, who saw star center Anthony Davis depart after taking a blow to the head.
The Warriors cut the deficit in their Western Conference semi-final series to 3-2.
The New York Knicks also stayed alive as Jalen Brunson scored 38 points in a 112-103 victory over the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden that pushed their Eastern Conference semi-final series to a sixth game.
Golden State and New York now must win on the road on Friday to give themselves a chance to win their respective series on Sunday.
Only 13 NBA teams have rallied from 3-1 down to win a series. The Warriors did it against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference finals — then a Cleveland Cavaliers team led by LeBron James did the same against them in the NBA Finals.
“Coming into this game, we just wanted to win one, give ourselves a chance, knowing that we have a big game six down in LA and we obviously need that one to stay alive,” Warriors star Stephen Curry told broadcaster TNT.
Curry scored 27 points to lead six Warriors players in double figures. Andrew Wiggins scored 25 points and Draymond Green delivered a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
“All the way up and down the roster there were contributions,” Curry said.
The Lakers are unbeaten at home this post-season, but they could find themselves without Davis, who departed in the fourth quarter after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from Golden State’s Kevon Looney.
A rattled Davis, who scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds, headed for the bench and was eventually helped to the locker room, not returning to the game.
“He took a shot to the head,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said after the game. “He seems to be doing really good already. That’s the status right now.”
James led the Lakers with 25 points, but Los Angeles couldn’t match the energy of the desperate Warriors.
Curry drained a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give Golden State a 70-59 halftime lead.
Wiggins’s putback dunk pushed the Warriors’ lead to 18 points early in the third quarter.
They led by double-digits most of the second half, but Austin Reaves drilled a three-pointer that cut the deficit to nine with 5:25 remaining.
Curry responded with a step-back jumper and a three-pointer and the Lakers wouldn’t get the deficit under 10 again.
– Knicks hang on –
In New York, the Knicks built a 19-point lead in the third quarter then fended off a late Miami charge to cut the deficit in their series to 3-2.
“You’ve got to give them credit, that’s a hard team to play,” said Brunson, who played all 48 minutes. “But we just came out to fight.
“We didn’t get discouraged with the 10-point deficit in the first quarter, we just kept fighting,” said Brunson, who added nine rebounds and seven assists.
RJ Barrett scored 26 points and Julius Randle shrugged off an early blow to the eye to add 24 for the Knicks, who will try to level the series in Miami on Friday.
It was close in the early going, but after Quentin Grimes’s three-pointer put the Knicks up 10-8 midway through the first quarter the Heat closed the period on a 16-4 run to lead 24-14.
The Knicks hit back and Randle’s step-back three-pointer with 1.3 seconds remaining in the second quarter put the Knicks up 50-47 at halftime.
The Knicks poured it on in the third, pushing the lead to 19 with 5:55 left in the period.
Miami, finally getting their three-point shots to fall, cut that to 10 going into the fourth, and Jimmy Butler’s pull-up basket, followed by his free throw on the Heat’s next possession, had Miami just two down with 2:37 left.
New York’s Isaiah Hartenstein answered with a dunk and the Knicks held on.
Butler led the Heat with 19 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. Bam Adebayo added 18 points and Duncan Robinson scored 17 off the bench for Miami, who are trying to become just the second eighth-seeded team — after the 1999 Knicks — to reach the conference finals.