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Curry's parade of 3-pointers burries Spurs' reserves

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Golden State's Stephen Curry buried three 3-pointers in a 19-0 fourth-quarter run Monday night as the Warriors finally broke free from a band of San Antonio Spurs' second- and third-stringers en route to a 116-106 victory at Oracle Arena.

The win by the Warriors (46-35), coupled with a loss by the Houston Rockets at Phoenix, moved Golden State into the sixth position in the Western Conference playoff race with just one game remaining.

The Warriors wrap up the regular season Wednesday at Portland, while the Rockets visit the Los Angeles Lakers. Either a Golden State win or Rockets' loss would wrap up the No. 6 spot for the Warriors and a first-round matchup with the Denver Nuggets or the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Spurs (58-23) knew before tipoff that the Oklahoma City Thunder (60-21) had beaten the Sacramento Kings and thus clinched the top seed in the West. The Spurs, who have one remaining game in the regular season, have clinched the No. 2 seed.

A Warriors-Spurs matchup in the first round remains a possibility, but it would require a Warriors' loss Wednesday coupled with a Rockets' win. San Antonio will open the playoffs against either the Warriors or Rockets, holding the home-court advantage.

If Golden State and San Antonio do match up next weekend, the Warriors will see a completely different cast of Spurs. Regulars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw all sat out Monday's game, with only Ginobili (strained right hamstring) and Diaw (back procedure) held out for health reasons.

The Warriors were without Andrew Bogut for a second consecutive game after he tweaked his surgically repaired left ankle Friday against Oklahoma City. Like most - if not all -- of the Spurs, the big man is expected to be ready for the playoff opener.

Even without their big guns, the Spurs led for most of the first half and remained within 88-87 after a Nando De Colo 3-pointer with 9:22 remaining in the game.

But Curry countered with a reverse layup, triggering the game-deciding run.

The star guard's biggest contribution came in the latter stages of the four-minute spurt, beginning with a fadeaway three from the right corner that prompted a Spurs timeout at 99-87.

But Curry hit another three after the timeout, and after Klay Thompson dropped in a jumper, Curry swished his seventh 3-pointer of the game for a 107-87 margin with just 4:58 to go.

Curry finished with 35 points, making seven of his 13 3-point attempts to move within one of Ray Allen's single-season record of 269. The Warriors went 9-for-20 from beyond the arc, including seven of 11 in the second half.

Thompson hit 10 of his 17 shots en route to 23 points to back Curry. Carl Landry (16), David Lee (12) and Harrison Barnes (11) also scored in double figures for the Warriors, who split the season series with the Spurs 2-2.

Backup Gary Neal, making 10 of his 15 shots, led the Spurs with 25 points, followed by fellow reserve Patty Mills with 23. DeJuan Blair added 14 points, Matt Bonner 13 and Cory Joseph 10 for the Spurs.

NOTES: Oracle Arena observed a moment of silence during the player introductions in response to the bomb-related deaths Monday morning at the Boston Marathon. ... Before the game, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said, "I want to send thoughts and prayers to the people of Boston during this tragedy. Certainly praying for those folks." ... Duncan, Parker and Leonard attended the game. Ginobili and Diaw did not make the two-game trip, which tipped off Sunday in Los Angeles. ... Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich admitted before the game he expected Ginobili to confront him in San Antonio on Tuesday in hopes of returning to the lineup for Wednesday's regular-season finale against Minnesota. The veteran guard, who hasn't played since March 29, is likely to be available for Game 1 of the playoffs next weekend. ... Likewise, the Warriors' Bogut has yet to be ruled out of Wednesday's regular-season finale at Portland. ... The Warriors ended the regular season with 32 consecutive sellouts to record the second-largest average attendance in franchise history, 19,374. The record of 19,631 was established in 2007-08, the season after the club's previous playoff appearance.
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