Stephen Curry scored 47 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Warriors fell 118-116 to the Lakers at Staples Center.
He nearly made it 50 with a three-quarter court heave at the buzzer, but the would-be game-winner was just off the mark.
As well as Curry played, the game will be largely overshadowed by what happened with three minutes, eight seconds left in the game. Kobe Bryant drove left near the top of the key, guarded by Harrison Barnes, and his leg collapsed from under him.
A foul was called on Barnes and, after a brief delay, Bryant (34 points) went to the free-throw line and calmly sank a pair of free throws to tie the game at 109. Los Angeles immediately fouled when the Warriors inbounded the ball and Bryant limped to the locker room.
The Lakers (43-37) announced after the game that the injury is likely a torn achilles tendon -- which would effectively end Bryant’s season and likely keep him sidelined for next season as well. An MRI will be performed Saturday to confirm the early diagnosis.
Bryant, who has one year remaining on his Lakers contract, scoffed as the notion that the injury would end his career.
Bryant’s injury will also overshadow a perplexing night of officiating. The Lakers were 38-of-50 from the free-throw line and Golden State was just 13-of-16.
With the Warriors leading 116-115 with 42 seconds left, Curry was whistled for a foul for running into what appeared to be a moving screen from Dwight Howard. The officials then sent Steve Blake to the line, where he knocked down both to give the Lakers the lead.
The Warriors led 107-98 with 6:24 left in the game, but the Lakers needed just four possessions to tie the game. Steve Blake hit a three and a miss followed before two threes from Bryant tied it at 107 with 3:45 left.
Golden State got an open 17-foot look for Carl Landry with about two seconds left, but his shot was off the mark. Curry started the possession with the ball and dished to Landry after getting double-teamed.
Curry finished 17-of-31 from the field and 9-of-15 from deep. He now has 261 threes on the year -- third-most on the NBA single-season list -- and needs nine over the final two games to break Ray Allen’s single-season record (269). He is averaging 3.4 made threes a game this season. “He got hot, put on another incredible performance,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “Still stunned he wasn’t in the All-Star Game.”
Klay Thompson added 25 points and David Lee finished with 19 points and eight rebounds as the Warriors couldn’t take advantage of Houston’s loss to Memphis earlier in the day. Golden State remains a half-game ahead of the Rockets for the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.
The Warriors have the weekend off before the host San Antonio in the final home game of the regular season on Monday.
Los Angeles (43-37) did not lead by more than two points all game. Howard scored 28 points (14-of-22 from the line) and Paul Gasol (8-for-8 from the line) added 26. The Lakers are a season-high six games over .500.
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Several games factored in the Western Conference playoff picture Friday.
Jazz 107, Timberwolves 100: The Jazz kept the pressure on the Lakers behind 40 points from Al Jefferson. Utah remains a game out of the No. 8 spot.
Grizzlies 82, Rockets 78: With the win, the Grizzlies moved into a third-place tie with Denver, but remain in the No. 5 spot as the Clippers are assured a top-four seed by winning the Pacific Division. Coupled with the Warriors’ loss to the Lakers, Houston remains a half-game back.
Clippers 96, Hornets 93: If the Clippers win out against Memphis, Portland and Sacramento, they can still make their way back to the No. 3 seed.
Spurs 108, Kings 101: The win keep San Antonio tied with the Thunder for the best record in the West, but they still need a Thunder loss to either Portland, Sacramento or Milwaukee to have a chance at the top seed.
Mavericks 108, Nuggets 105 (OT): The loss drops Denver into a third-place tie with Memphis and cuts its lead over the Clippers to one game with Portland, Milwaukee and Phoenix left on the schedule.