Dominican rookie Chris Duarte led the injury-hit Indiana Pacers to a 121-117 NBA overtime triumph over Stephen Curry and the Golden Warriors on Thursday.
One day after shocking LeBron James and the Lakers in Los Angeles, the Pacers pulled off another unlikely win in California, despite a slew of absences that included injured starters Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert.
Undaunted, Duarte stepped up to score a career-best 27 points with seven rebounds and three assists.
He scored four points in overtime, and teammate Keifer Sykes scored five — Sykes hitting the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:41 left in the frantic extra session, then driving for a layup that pushed Indiana’s lead to five points.
The Warriors had pulled within three with 6.4 seconds left couldn’t get a potential game-tying shot off.
“We just stayed together,” Duarte said. “We played hard defensively, that was the key — getting the stops and then moving the ball. I think we did a great job on both ends of the floor.”
Goga Bitadze started at center for Indiana but was ejected with 6:44 left in regulation after his second technical foul.
Gary Payton II had soared over the towering Georgian for a dunk and his follow-up stare — which also earned a technical — provoked Bitadze into a reaction that got him tossed.
Curry led the Warriors with 39 points but didn’t score in overtime. He missed a three-pointer from the top of the arc with 16.5 seconds left.
Overall the Warriors made just nine of 42 three-point attempts and coughed up 21 turnovers.
Kevon Looney scored 13 points and grabbed 15 rebounds and Klay Thompson, still on limited minutes after an injury absence of more than two years, added 12 for the Warriors.
But they slipped and lost ground to the league-leading Phoenix Suns, who rallied to beat the Dallas Mavericks 109-101 to strengthen their hold on first place in the Western Conference.
Booker paces Suns
Devin Booker scored 28 points and Chris Paul added 20 points and 11 assists for Phoenix, who closed strong to win their fifth game in a row and halt the Mavericks’ winning streak at four.
Luka Doncic, coming off a 41-point performance in a win over Toronto on Wednesday, scored 28 points with eight rebounds and eight assists for Dallas.
The Suns, playing their second straight game without injured starting center Deandre Ayton, trailed 53-45 at halftime and by as many as 12 in the third quarter.
The Suns briefly took the lead in the third quarter, but the Mavs hit back to lead by eight going into the final frame.
But Phoenix wouldn’t go away, out-scoring the Mavs 35-19 in the fourth quarter. Booker said it was “just experience” that allowed the Suns — who fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in last season’s Finals — to keep coming up big when it matters.
“I think our playoff run last year helped our chemistry moving forward,” Booker said. “So we’re never fazed in those situations. We hang our hat on defense end and try to make it tough on other teams and it usually works out.”
The defeat dropped Dallas to 26-20 on the season, still fifth in the West.
They’ll be hoping there is no lasting damage to Doncic after a hard fall late in the third quarter left him feeling discomfort in the back of his neck.
“It’s my spine,” Doncic said. “When I fell down, I hit my back. It’s pretty sore right now.”
Elsewhere, Jonas Valanciunas scored 18 points with 10 rebounds to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 102-91 victory over the Knicks in New York.
The Pelicans led by as many as 25 as the Knicks lost their third straight game at Madison Square Garden and fell to 11th in the East, one game outside the final play-in tournament berth.
RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson scored 17 points apiece for the Knicks, but forward Julis Randle was held to four points and fellow starters Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker combined to score just 11.