PHOENIX — Stephen Curry had 33 points, Otto Porter Jr. scored seven of his 19 during a key late stretch and the Golden State Warriors regained their top spot in the NBA from Phoenix, beating the Suns 116-107 on Saturday.
Golden State arrived in the desert short-handed, missing three of its top four scorers to health and safety protocols: Andrew Wiggins, Damion Lee and Jordan Poole.
Curry carried most of the load, overcoming a mediocre shooting performance to crack 20 points for the first time in nine Christmas games. He finished 10 for 27, and was 5 for 16 from three-point territory to help the Warriors end Phoenix’s 15-game home winning streak.
The Lakers host Brooklyn in a Christmas Day game that will be missing stars Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. LeBron James is set to play.
Instead of Curry, it was Porter taking over down the stretch, hitting a step-back three and a pair of jumpers in a span of 1:02.
Chris Paul had 21 points and eight assists for Phoenix. Deandre Ayton finished with 18 points in the Suns’ third loss in 28 games.
The two teams with the NBA’s best records played in just the third Christmas game in which both teams had a winning percentage of at least .800.
Playing on Christmas is nothing new to the Warriors. This was their ninth straight Christmas Day game and 11th in 12 seasons. The Suns, once regulars on the Christmas schedule, were in their first since 2009.
Both teams put on an after-the-presents offensive show at Footprint Center.
Curry had 11 points in the first quarter and Gary Payton II a massive rebound slam as the Warriors built an early 10-point lead. The Suns revved it up in the second quarter, going on a 15-3 run and taking a 62-58 halftime lead on Paul’s last-second 3-pointer.
The teams continued to trade 3s and baskets in transition, neither able to gain any separation until Golden State went on a short run to go up 107-99.
The Suns pulled within two, but Porter hit consecutive jumpers and a long 3 to stretch Golden State’s lead to nine.
LeBron James surpasses Kobe Bryant as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on Christmas, but it’s not enough to prevent the Lakers’ fifth consecutive loss.
Milwaukee Bucks 117, Boston Celtics 113
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo returned from the NBA’s healthy and safety protocols to score 36 points, and Wesley Matthews hit a 3-pointer with 30.3 seconds left to give Milwaukee its first lead and the eventual win.
Seeing his first action since Dec. 12, Antetokounmpo played 30 minutes and connected on 13 of 23 shots while shooting 10 for 15 from the free-throw line. Milwaukee also got center Bobby Portis and guard Donte DiVincenzo back from COVID-19 protocols.
Boston had just eight players available after putting Dennis Schroder in the protocols earlier Saturday, but took control behind Jaylen Brown, who scored 14 of his 25 points in the opening quarter. Jayson Tatum also scored 25 points for Boston, which led by as many as 19 and went into halftime with a 35-22 advantage.
New York Knicks 101, Atlanta Hawks 87
NEW YORK — Kemba Walker became the seventh NBA player with a triple-double on Christmas, and New York beat depleted Atlanta for its first victory on the holiday in a decade.
Julius Randle had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks in a matchup of teams that met in the first round of last season’s playoffs. But the Hawks were missing Trae Young among nine players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, so it wasn’t much of a rematch of Atlanta’s five-game victory.
Walker finished with 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. It was the first triple-double on Christmas since Golden State’s Draymond Green in 2017. John Collins and Delon Wright each scored 20 points for the Hawks.