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NBA: Warriors rally to stun Spurs

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Stephen Curry scored 40 points and Kevin Durant 34 to power a stunning second-half comeback that lifted Golden State over San Antonio 113-111 Sunday in an NBA playoff thriller.

The Spurs squandered a 25-point lead and might have lost star forward Kawhi Leonard, who left the game for good with a sprained left ankle early in the third quarter.

Golden State seized a 1-0 edge in the best-of-seven Western Conference final, which continues Tuesday in Oakland. The winner plays defending champion Cleveland, Boston or Washington in the NBA Finals.

“We just controled what we could control and played smarter,’’ Curry said. “It’s the playoffs. You’ve got to take a win any way you can get it.’’

Curry credited the reversal of fortunes in the dying minutes to “aggressiveness, paying attention to details and obviously we’ve got to make shots.’’

The much-anticipated matchup between the most productive NBA scoring attack of Golden State, which led the league with 67 wins, and the top NBA defense of the Spurs, next best at 61 wins, met high expectations.

Kawhi Leonard scored 18 of his 26 points in the first half and LaMarcus Aldridge added 17 of his 28 in the opening two quarters as the Spurs seized a 62-42 half-time lead.

But Leonard left the contest for good with 7:53 to play in the third quarter, limping to the locker room with a left ankle sprain.

“Just very painful because I tweaked it before,’’ Leonard said. ‘’It’s hard to tell (about Tuesday). I definitely couldn’t go (the rest of Sunday’s game). But we’ll see how I get better each day.’’

Leonard is expected to undergo an MRI on Monday and his status for game two is questionable.

The Warriors responded by scoring the next 18 points, pulling within 78-73 on Durant’s fast break slam dunk.

“We were smart when we got out and pushed the basketball. We were disciplined when we ran,’’ said Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown, guiding the team in place of idled coach Steve Kerr.

The Warriors were given a half-time pep talk by Kerr, who has given way to Brown since the second playoff game due to complications from back surgery.

Curry scored 19 points in the third quarter to ignite the fightback, going 5-of-6 from 3-point range, but the Warriors still trailed 90-81 entering the fourth quarter, Curry being treated on the bench for a right arm issue.