By The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — Stephen Curry scored 23 points for Golden State in his anticipated return after missing more than four months with a broken left hand, but the Toronto Raptors beat the Warriors 121-113 Thursday night to clinch a playoff spot.
After being sidelined 58 games, Curry led Golden State out of the tunnel to a big ovation — as loud as his neon sneakers, one pink and one yellow. He missed his first two shots but had three quick assists, including a no-look, behind-the-back dish to Andrew Wiggins. He finished with seven assists and seven rebounds in 27 minutes.
The two-time MVP hit a 17-footer for his first basket early in the second quarter, then got a huge reaction for a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc shortly before halftime. He was 3 of 12 from 3-point range and 6 of 16 overall for the game.
Norman Powell scored a career-high 37 points for Toronto, which clinched a playoff berth with the win in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals. The Raptors won that series in six games, finishing with a victory in Golden State’s final game at its old arena in Oakland.
Kyle Lowry added 26 points and 10 assists, and Serge Ibaka had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors, who won at Phoenix on Tuesday night to end a three-game losing streak.
Clippers 120, Rockets 105
Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and Los Angeles rolled over Houston for its sixth straight victory.
The Rockets were done in by their shooting woes in a game that was billed as a matchup of two of the top teams in the Western Conference, but was a rout almost from the start. Houston had a chance to take the season series and secure the tiebreaker over the Clippers, but the loss left the teams tied 2-2.
Houston made just 7 of 42 3-pointers to drop its second straight game in embarrassing fashion after losing to the lowly New York Knicks on Monday night. The Rockets ended their streak of 18 straight games with 10 or more 3-pointers dating to Jan. 20.
Russell Westbrook led the Rockets with 29 points and 15 rebounds. James Harden was 4 of 17 and missed all eight 3-pointers he attempted to finish with 16 points. The two stars and most of the other starters on both teams didn’t play for much of the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.
Nuggets 114, Hornets 112
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jamal Murray hit a running, off-balance 13-footer from the baseline with 5.1 seconds left and Denver overcame an eight-point fourth quarter deficit to beat Charlotte.
Murray had 18 points, and Nikola Jokic added 14 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Devonte Graham had 24 points and seven assists for the Hornets. P.J, Washington added 20 points and Terry Rozier had 19. Rozier’s 3-pointer at the buzzer rimmed out.
76ers 125, Kings 108
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Tobias Harris had 28 point and 14 rebounds and short-handed Philadelphia beat Sacramento for its first road win in more than a month.
Shake Milton scored 20 points and Al Horford had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Sixers, who also won in Sacramento for the first time since 2015. Alec Burks added 17 points and Raul Neto had 16.
De’Aaron Fox had 23 points and seven assists for Sacramento. Buddy Hield scored 22.
Philadelphia ended its nine-game road losing streak while continuing to play without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid sat out a fourth straight game because of a left shoulder sprain, while Simmons missed his sixth straight with a nerve impingement in his back.
Philadelphia’s last road win before Thursday came in Brooklyn on Jan. 20.