Kyrie Irving credited P.J. Washington for a "spectacular" performance after the Dallas Mavericks overcame Luka Doncic's absence to halt the Golden State Warriors' six-game winning streak.

The Warriors approached Friday's trip to American Airlines Center on their best run of the season and with a chance of clinching one of the Western Conference's Play-In spots.

They needed to win and hope the 11th-placed Houston Rockets lost to the Miami Heat to clinch their top-10 seed, and though they got a favour from elsewhere with a 119-104 Miami win, they couldn't hold up their end of the bargain.

With Andrew Wiggins out due to ankle soreness and Jonathan Kuminga a late scratch with a knee injury, the Warriors found themselves facing a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Though they rallied to draw level at 106-106 through Stephen Curry's jumper with 13 seconds left, Washington capped a 32-point night with a decisive layup with just 4.5 seconds on the clock.

Dallas then held on for their 108-106 victory as Klay Thompson missed with a potential buzzer-beater, leaving Irving to heap praise on their hero Washington.

"He was spectacular," Irving said of Washington. "You could tell it was going to be a special night just based off how he started the game. 

"That's what we need, especially when we don't have certain guys in the lineup and we need that offensive firepower."

With star guard Doncic missing out due to soreness in his right knee, Washington took up the mantle by finishing 12-of-18 from the field, also adding five rebounds and three assists.

Despite the Warriors missing a chance to seal their postseason berth, head coach Steve Kerr was pleased with the way his short-handed team refused to give up the fight.

"The level of competition and unity, just the way they fought, short-handed out on a back-to-back with an older group of guys, it was just an amazing effort," Kerr said. 

"I love these guys. They're incredible. We just didn't quite have enough tonight."

The defeat represented a blow to Golden State's hopes of climbing the standings, leaving them two games back of the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers.

However, they remain four clear of Houston in 10th with three of their final five regular-season games coming at home, the first of them against the Utah Jazz on Sunday. 

Steph Curry may have been surprised to not feature more in the Minnesota Timberwolves defeat but Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr insists his side will not solely rely on their star.

That message from Kerr was clear after Sunday's 114-110 loss to the Timberwolves, with the Golden State chief prioritising Curry's fitness over chasing results.

Curry scored 31 points on 9-of-21 shooting in his 30 minutes, including five 3-pointers, despite sitting out 11 straight minutes between the end of the third quarter and the closing stages of the fourth.

"I want to play as many minutes as I'm fresh and able to, so I'm a little bit [surprised] knowing that they were going on a run," said Curry.

Curry acknowledged "our lead was withering away" as the Warriors man was removed with four third-quarter minutes left and not introduced until just over six final minutes remained.

Kerr refuted suggestions Curry should have been reinstated sooner, though, pointing to the fitness load already on his strained shoulders.

"We can't expect to just ride Steph game after game after game," Kerr said. "We've put the burden of this franchise on his shoulders for 15 years.

"We can't expect him to play 35 minutes ... If you want to say that him playing 30 minutes instead of 32 is a difference between a win and a loss, I totally disagree with that.

"We're trying to win the game. And we're trying to keep him fresh, too."

Unlike the Timberwolves defeat, Curry played the entirety of the fourth quarter and 35 minutes overall in Friday's 123-11 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

"I played the whole fourth quarter against Indiana and it didn't work out, this didn't work out [against Minnesota]. We've got to find somewhere in the middle," Curry added.

"The situation will define itself in real-time. Every game matters as we're inching closer to the other end of the standings we never thought we would be in.

"No one is going to wave the white flag and say we are mailing it in. If that means playing more minutes, I'll be ready to do that."

The Warriors are just one game up on the in-form Houston Rockets, hanging on to the no.10 seed in the Western Conference by a slight margin.

Curry had earlier stated there remains no concern as to where Golden State finish in the standings, so long as the Warriors develop a winning habit to regain form for the postseason.

"What Steph is saying is if we don't build the habits, it doesn't matter," Kerr clarified as the final 12 games loom.

"You make the play-in, you don't, if you don't have the habits you're not going anywhere."

LeBron James bemoaned the Los Angeles Lakers suffering from a "weird" NBA review call as the Golden State Warriors triumphed on Saturday.

The Lakers trailed 124-120 with 1:50 remaining of the fourth quarter when a delay started after Los Angeles coach Darvin Ham challenged an out-of-bounds call that granted the Warriors possession.

Ham's questioning was proved correct as the Lakers were granted the ball but, in the process, the Lakers were punished for points after the officials reviewed LeBron's earlier three-pointer.

LeBron was deemed to have been in contact with the paint when shooting from the corner, with his three-point conversion reduced to two by the officials.

"I've never seen that be called before like that, in that particular time," said James, who finished with 40 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds.

"That was kind of weird. It took some momentum away from us. I didn't believe I stepped on the line.

"I knew how much space I had over there. And when I shoot, I shoot on my tippy toes, so it's kind of hard for me to have a heel down."

NBA official David Guthrie explained the call after the game, though that did not quell the frustrations from either side.

"James' left foot is out of bounds as he begins to shoot," Guthrie said. "Yes, it is reviewable at that time.

"The rule is Rule 13, Section II(f)(3): Whether the shooter committed a boundary line violation, the replay center official will only look at the position of the player's feet at the moment they touch the floor immediately prior to the release of the shot. This can be applied during other replay triggers as well."

Despite profiting from the review, even Golden State coach Steve Kerr was unsure of the ruling.

"I also don't like the rule that you can go back and look at an out of bounds, or LeBron's 3," Kerr said. "That seems to happen once or twice a year. I'd love to see that rule go away.

"I think we're trying so hard to get everything just right, at the expense of the flow. Who cares if a guy's foot is half an inch on the line?

"Is that worth going back 45 seconds and changing everything, with the unintended consequences? It's not my favourite rule, for sure."

Although Kerr surprisingly took the side of the opposition, LeBron was content to prioritise fairness rather than lament the method of replay reviews.

"At the end of the day, you want to get it right," LeBron said. "So, it's unfortunate what happened. But you want to try to get it right, obviously.

"And our crew has a job to do, which is the referees, they have a job to do, and they have to do it at the best they can. So, all good."

If the review decision was not bemusing enough, the last two minutes of the game took more than 20 minutes due to additional shot-clock malfunctions.

The Lakers twice tried to restart play but the shot clock was not in cohesion, leaving the stadium announcer to count the time down due to the technology issue.

"It was bizarre," Kerr added. "It seems like a few times a year you get clock issues. That's about as extreme as I've been a part of where the backup unit doesn't work either.

"It's unfortunate. I felt bad for the fans. That was a great game, and then the last two minutes everyone is just kind of looking at each other wondering what to do."

Stephen Curry lamented a "perfect storm" as the Golden State Warriors were on the end of a 140-88 defeat to the Boston Celtics on Sunday.

The loss at TD Garden was the fourth-worst the Warriors, who entered the contest in good form, have suffered in franchise history.

It marks the third time this season the Celtics have won by 50 points or more, meanwhile, as they racked up an 11th victory in a row.

"The way that they've been playing, they seem very sure of themselves in their identity and who they are," Curry said. "Give them credit. 

"They came out and whooped us from the jump, and it was a perfect storm of a rough [day] on our end and them taking it to us."

Curry played despite being questionable, but he did not feature in the second half as he finished with a season-low tally of four points.

The Warriors will hope to have Curry back to full fitness for their return to action against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

"This was not a day off for Steph, though he probably could have used one," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said.

"He's played so well and for so long this year. Hopefully the next few days he'll get it recharged."

Jaylen Brown led the scoring with 29 points, while birthday boy Jayson Tatum had 26 in the Celtics' third-biggest victory in franchise history.

Boston led by a franchise-record 44 points at the midway point and went on to extend their advantage to 51 before making some changes.

"It feels great, but, at the same time, it's always within humility," Brown said. "We don't take the game for granted. 

"We didn't come and mess around and that's just how we show our respect to the game, we handle business and take care of it.

"It's a lot of respect for the Golden State Warriors, but we feel like it's our time now."

The 48-12 Celtics lead the Eastern Conference, while the Warriors are ninth in the Western Conference with a record of 32-28. 

Steve Kerr is considering how best to use Klay Thompson after the 34-year-old responded to being benched with an emphatic showing for the Golden State Warriors.

Thompson was benched for the first time since 2012 on Thursday, but responded with his best performance of the season as the Warriors beat the Utah Jazz 140-137.

The small forward finished with 35 points and six rebounds. Thompson had started 727 straight games.

Golden State's win marked Kerr's 500th victory as Warriors coach, and he believes Thompson, who is averaging 17.3 points per game this season.

"It's been a tricky season for him and for us," said Kerr.

"It's not as easy to do what Klay did five or six years ago for him.

"I think this could be a good balance to get the best out of Klay and to get the best out of our team.

"He's just such a competitor. I've watched him win championships. I've seen him hit a million big shots. I've seen him guard the toughest guys in the league.

"Klay's a champion. He's an incredible player, a great person."

Thompson has now surpassed 15,000 points, becoming the sixth Golden State player, and the 153rd player in total, to do so.

"You can do two things: You can pout or you can go out there and respond," said Thompson. "I thought I did the latter very well tonight.

"Throughout the game, when I'm running with the second unit, I realised I might be more of a focal point to the offense.

"That's a fun role to play. I just wanted to take it upon myself to prove to coach that I was going to respond like the champ I am.

"I thought about [former Spurs great] Manu Ginobli, that guy has four rings and a gold medal, and he came off the bench his whole career, and I don't think anyone looks down on his Hall of Fame candidacy.

"He's one of the greats. And I thought, I mean, I embraced it before tip, and I deserved it really."

Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr both admitted the Golden State Warriors are still searching for an identity after they were beaten by a Luka Doncic-inspired Dallas Mavericks team on Saturday.

The Warriors sit a disappointing 11th in the Western Conference with a 15-17 record after losing their third straight game, with Curry's 25-point haul not enough to prevent a 132-122 defeat.

Doncic was the catalyst for Dallas upon his return to the fold after sitting out Thursday's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves due to injury, finishing with 39 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Golden State have seen their last two losses arrive at Chase Center, having also gone down to a Miami Heat team deprived of Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Caleb Martin two days earlier.

While injuries and suspensions – most notably for forward Draymond Green – have hampered the Warriors' attempts to find consistency this season, Curry knows they need to do so quickly.

"We've experimented a lot, some for forced reasons, sometimes just us searching for an identity," Curry said. "We haven't found it collectively. 

"It's frustrating, for sure, 32 games in. Any team that is a seriously competitive contender, a good team, can usually answer that question. We have to get to that point before it's too late."

Coach Kerr agreed with that assessment, saying: "We haven't found that grit that every good team needs, where you pull together and you just play for the group. We are not there yet, and that's a problem. 

"We have great guys, but until every team connects in a way that is solely dedicated to winning each game, then we are going to be stuck in this place."

The Warriors were the latest team to fail to contain Doncic, who has scored at least 39 points in his last four games, only failing to reach 30 once in 13 outings in December – when he managed 28 against the Los Angeles Clippers.

He is just the second player in NBA history to average at least 35 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists per game across a calendar month (minimum 10 games played), after Oscar Robertson did so for the Cincinnati Royals in December 1960.

While Kerr was disappointed with the Warriors' defensive efforts, he acknowledged they had simply failed to live with one of the foremost contenders for MVP honours.

"We tried to mix it up on him," Kerr said. "We single-covered him, we switched, we hit him. We tried a lot of different things, but he is a brilliant player and he had a phenomenal game. 

"We weren't communicating. We had some good stretches when we were getting stops, and then our communication broke down."

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr described officiating standards as "disgusting" after Nikola Jokic made 18 free throws in the Denver Nuggets' Christmas-Day win over his team.

Jokic made all 18 of his free throw attempts as the Nuggets posted their fifth successive win, which represented a career-high tally as he finished with 26 points in his team's 120-114 success.

Ten of those came in the third quarter as Jokic drew foul after foul from the Golden State defense, prompting Kerr to lash out at what he sees as a league-wide problem.

"I have a problem with how we are legislating the defense out of the game," Kerr said after the Warriors slipped to 15-15.

"We are enabling players to B.S. their way to the foul line. If I were a fan, I wouldn't have wanted to watch the second half of that game. It was disgusting. 

"It was just baiting refs into calls, but the refs have to make those calls. The players are really smart in this league. 

"For the last decade, they've gotten smarter and smarter. We have enabled the players, and they are taking full advantage. It's a parade to the free throw line, and it's disgusting to watch."

Four-time NBA champion Stephen Curry, who was held to 18 points, echoed Kerr's sentiments as he said: "It does cater to the guys who can sell calls. 

"There is physicality, but it's tough because it is inconsistent, at times, on either side.

"On a night like tonight, when you feel there is physicality on one side and then ticky-tack on the other, it changes the complexity of the game. 

"I'm not saying we don't foul, but consistency is key when understanding how you can defend."

Jokic, though, denied actively trying to sell calls and said aggression became key to his performance after a slow start.

"I was missing shots, so I was just trying to be aggressive in another way, maybe play a little more physical" Jokic told ESPN.

"It just happened to be that kind of night. This is the most I've ever had."

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr believes his team are good enough to win the NBA championship, but only if they cut out the kind of errors which cost them against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.

The Warriors slumped to 10-12 as they finished on the wrong side of a thrilling contest at Paycom Center, losing 138-136 in overtime.

Golden State led 62-56 at halftime before the Thunder rallied, with Stephen Curry – who finished with a team-high 34 points – making a series of big shots to keep them in the game past regulation.

From there, however, mistakes cost the Warriors as the Thunder scored eight points off four turnovers in the extra period, winning it when Chet Holmgren fed Luguentz Dort for a decisive layup.

Kerr's team have now lost their last five road games, the last three of those defeats coming by a combined margin of four points, and he knows errors are contributing to them finishing on the wrong side of the fine margins.

"We're good enough to win a championship," Kerr said after the game. "With this team. I believe that.

"But if we are just going to turn it over and throw the ball to the other team and foul over and over, then we're going to lose."

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the way with 38 points for the Thunder, and despite the Warriors enduring an inconsistent campaign, he believes the way they fought back against the 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2022 NBA champions was something of a statement.

"We've got a bunch of competitors on the team, guys that don't back down, guys that want to be great," Gilgeous-Alexander said. 

"We all know that to be great, you've got to test yourself against the great. 

"Obviously, that's a dynasty that came in here today, and there's been multiple games like that this year. When we play the best of the best, we rise to the challenge."

The Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday as Jonathan Kuminga's impressive cameo left Steve Kerr pondering more changes to his lineup.

Stephen Curry overcame a slow start to finish with a game-high 31 points as the Warriors saw off Portland at Chase Center, though their victory was far from a sure thing until Kuminga's third-quarter introduction.

Against the team with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, the Warriors looked lifeless until the 21-year-old entered the fray.

Kuminga starred with 13 points in 17 minutes, stealing the ball from Toumani Camara at a vital moment late on to kick-start a move which ended with a Curry three-pointer, making the result safe.

The Warriors are now 10-11 for the season, with injuries and suspensions – most notably Draymond Green's five-game ban for putting Rudy Gobert in a chokehold – having hampered their attempts to build any lasting momentum.

Golden State have already used nine different starting lineups this year, with only the Miami Heat naming more in the whole league, and Kerr expects the rotation to continue for the time being. 

"The puzzle hasn't fit this year," Kerr said. "We've had a lot of guys playing well, but we may have to think about moving the starting lineup around from game to game depending on who we are facing. 

"I'd still prefer to get something solid, but we haven't established anything this year. We're a quarter of a way through, so there is a lot of thought that has to go into this.

"I've really been patient and hoping to get our starting unit from the last couple of years into a good groove.

"It's easier to play and to coach when everybody knows exactly where they fit in. It's easier to play a role when there is a set rotation and the stars are playing well so the puzzle fits.

"Every night is going to be different with this team, that's what I am figuring out. We don't have roster clarity in terms of who's going to play every single night."

Curry added that the Warriors need greater flexibility in games, saying: "There have been situations this year… obviously we lost some big leads because we haven't been able to adapt quickly enough in those kinds of games. 

"It's the same thing with the coach's decisions that he has to make on a night-to-night basis."

Steve Kerr is not too worried by the Golden State Warriors' form, though conceded his team need to be less reliant on Stephen Curry.

Curry scored 38 points – his sixth 30-point game of the season – though the Warriors lost for the third game running as they went down 116-110 to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

However, on only one other occasion this season has one of his teammates had at least 20 point, with Curry outscoring any other player on the Warriors' roster by at least five points in all 11 games this campaign, which is the longest such streak to start a season since Michael Jordan in 1987-88.

The Warriors lead the Pacific Division but hold a 6-5 record for the season, and while Kerr is not worried by the current rut, he does want to see other players step up to support Curry.

"I'm actually not overly concerned to be honest with you," Kerr said. 

"The season is filled with ups and downs and we're in a little bit of a spell right now. But it's not like we were the world's greatest team when we were six and two and we're not the world's worst team losing the last three.

"This is part of the season and I think we just played, back-to-back, two great defensive teams that throttled us and we need to figure out some things offensively and I'm confident that we will.

"No question, we need some scoring and some playmaking elsewhere."

In Curry's mind, there is no reason to panic. 

"There's always been a certain approach to guarding us. For years you know where attention is going to be," Curry said.

"Usually try to blitz me in a pick-and-roll, stay body-tight on Klay [Thompson], whatever the case is we have to make adjustments. We can't just keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

"It's not a panic or anything. It's just a matter of getting a little smarter and a little bit more organised.

"Everything is on the table for us for adjustments. When you've lost three straight, you have to make adjustments. I don't know if it's a rotation thing or whatever the case is, but everything is on the table and everyone has to be ready to step in."

Draymond Green, meanwhile, is expecting more from himself and his other teammates.

"Chris [Paul and I] got to do a better job of making sure we're getting into things," Green said.

"When Steph's got it going, he's got it going. He's just moving. It's on us to realise that and learn how to also use him to get other guys' looks as well.

"We as players have to do better. When we're playing well, players get the credit, when you're playing bad, players have to f****** take the blame as well. We can come up here and point a bunch of fingers, at the end of the day we play basketball and it's our [job] to figure it out and play better."

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