The Miami Heat had the chance to beat the champions at Oracle Arena and make the surprise of the night. But the Warriors wouldn’t be the most dominant force in the last few years without knowing how to get away from tough situations, and they eventually won, 120-118.
With 5.4 seconds before the buzzer, DeMarcus Cousins’ hand was calm and accurate, and Boogie made both of his free throws, lifting GSW to a two-point lead, and giving them another win.
Dion Waiters had a chance for the win, but missed the three-point shot afterward.
This is Golden State’s 40th win of the season, along with 15 losses, which puts them at the top of the Western Conference.
The Heat are trailing the 8th spot in East with the Pistons, and they are ahead of a huge battle for the postseason.
The guests were excellent in the first quarter, and they even had a 19-point lead during the middle of that period, 26-7. It was a product of a furious 21-1 run which dazzled the champs for a while. The end of the first period saw the visitors lead by 10 points.
We started off sluggish,” Kevin Durant who scored 39 points in the end said. “They made shots, they were excited to play against us. We treated it like it was a Sunday walk in the park.”
Kevin Durant was clutch down the stretch to bring the @warriors back to defeat the Heat! 😯
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 11, 2019
Slowly but inevitable, GSW was coming back and reduced the deficit until the halftime to only 5 points. The complete turnaround was in the third sequence, and the home team already had an 8-point lead when it concluded, 90-82.
With some five and a half minutes before the end, GSW was up 107-99, but Heat had a 9-0 burst, making the ending very intense and thrilling.
Justise Winslow on one side and Durant on the other were exchanging baskets, but Winslow missed a three-pointer with 23.7 seconds, which opened the door for GSW to take the lead.
KD missed his downtown basket too, but Cousins made an offensive rebound and sealed the fate of the guests from the free-throw line.
Miami’s coach Eric Spoelstra was furious at the referees, as they made an obvious mistake by allowing Durant to make a double-dribbling mistake during that late attempt. The three-time champion with the Heat was very mad on referees whose criteria wasn’t the same for both sides we need to add.
It looks like Durant got away with a double dribble here… pic.twitter.com/xp4UKWNX8v
— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) February 11, 2019
“Those are tough calls to make, but everybody saw it. It’s right there in front of everybody,” Spoelstra said of Durant’s obvious mistake. “That should be a violation, and you can’t miss those calls.”
He also pointed on the fact that Heat had only 8 free throws in the whole game, compared to 28 of the Warriors.
Josh Richardson had a team-high 37 points for the guests, with 8 threes in 11 attempts. Dion Waiters made six of them and ended the game with 24 buckets. Winslow who took the responsibility in the final moments of the game had 22 with 6 boards and 4 downtown hits.
Despite the loss, Josh Richardson was on fire against the Warriors! 🔥
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 11, 2019
Among the Warriors, Kevin Durant was relentless despite shooting 1 of 7 behind the arc. KD dropped 39 on Heat defense, having 15 hits in 17 tries for two. Klay Thompson had 29 points and six threes, one more than Curry who ended the night with 25 buckets.
Cousins who solved the game had just 7 buckets, but his contribution was much bigger than the stats show. Coach Steve Kerr emphasized that after the game, saying that he is very happy for Boogie to close out one tough contest.
“I was really happy that he was out there at the end of the game. It’s good experiences for him because he hasn’t been out there much since he’s come back to close games.” Kerr stated.
The Warriors will now host Utah Jazz on Tuesday, and after that have back-to-back nights in Portland and at home versus Sacramento.
Miami has three more stops before reaching Florida. In Denver already tonight, Dallas on Wednesday and Philly on Thursday.