Warriors guard Stephen Curry drives against Kings guard Terence Davis during Golden State’s 120-100 win in Game 7 of their first-round series on Sunday in Sacramento, California. José Luis Villegas/Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Stephen Curry scored a playoff career-high 50 points and answered time and again to will the defending champions on in their quest for a repeat, Kevon Looney grabbed 21 rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by beating the Sacramento Kings 120-100 in Sunday’s winner-take-all Game 7.

Curry’s points are the most in NBA history in a Game 7, topping former teammate Kevin Durant’s 48 for the Nets against Milwaukee in 2021.

The Warriors fell behind 2-0 in this series, then won twice on the road in front of a hostile, cowbell-clanging crowd in the state capital to become the first reigning champion to win a postseason series after dropping the first two games.

Next up is LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, with all that NBA Finals history between James and Golden State dating to his Cleveland days. Game 1 is Tuesday night at Chase Center.

Sacramento’s special comeback season is over long before these young Kings had planned. After snapping a 16-year playoff drought – the longest in NBA history – under Coach of the Year Mike Brown, playoff-starved Sacramento earned a No. 3 seed but failed in its bid to advance to the second round for the first time since 2004.

Curry shot 20 of 38 with seven 3s and delivered after almost every big play by Sacramento as fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson struggled on both ends again. But Thompson came through in some crucial moments, too.


Malik Monk’s putback and three-point play with 14.6 seconds remaining in the third pulled Sacramento within six, only for Thompson to hit a long 3 and convert a four-point play to make it 91-81 heading into the final 12 minutes.

Domantas Sabonis had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but the Warriors held De’Aaron Fox in check as he scored 16 points on 5-for-19 shooting in his third game playing with a broken index finger on his shooting hand.

Trailing 58-56 at halftime, the Warriors opened the second half with a 13-4 burst to take a 69-62 lead and force a Kings timeout at the 7:50 mark.

Sacramento scored early on with a beautiful combination of classic give-and-goes and long jumpers off crisp passing around the perimeter.

But Curry kept coming, and Looney kept scrapping to create second and third opportunities during his brilliant series on the boards.

Curry fired from way back with precision and fearlessly drove to the basket with jaw-dropping acrobatics all afternoon to send Kings fans to the exits late in the fourth.


HEAT 108, KNICKS 101: Jimmy Butler had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 8 seed Miami kept rolling after barely reaching the postseason, beating New York in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

Gabe Vincent scored 20 points for the Heat, who became the sixth No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 when they toppled Milwaukee in the first round and continue to look nothing like a team that needed to win a play-in game just to get the final postseason berth in the East.

They averaged 124 points in that series behind Butler’s 37.6 per game, but they pulled this one out with old-fashioned defense and rebounding that has always worked so well before for them at this time of year.

RJ Barrett scored 26 points and Jalen Brunson had 25 for the fifth-seeded Knicks, who are in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2013. They started strong and led most of the first half, but the Heat eventually got the Madison Square Garden crowd quieter and quieter as the game went on.

Game 2 is Tuesday night.

The Knicks were without All-Star forward Julius Randle because of a sprained left ankle and they surely missed him when the transition points dried up and it became a halfcourt game.


They could’ve used his shooting on a day they went 7 for 34 behind the arc, missing a chance to break open the game early and then hindering any chances of coming back.

The Heat fell behind by 12 points in the second quarter, but that wasn’t going to faze a team that eliminated deficits of 15 and then 16 points in the last two games against Milwaukee. They gradually narrowed the deficit before halftime, blew by the Knicks with a 21-5 run in the third quarter and pulled away to a double-digit lead in the fourth.

They did it without needing the type of huge performances Butler delivered in the first round, when he scored 56 and 42 points in the final two games. He did plenty of other things they needed, including remaining in the game after an ankle injury left him limping to the free throw line with 5:05 to play.

He gave the Heat a good start in a renewal of what was once a fierce rivalry, with the teams meeting four straight years from 1997-2000. The Heat won the last three of those but have work to do if they’re going to take this one.

Getting Randle back would be a good start. He reinjured his ankle in Game 5 against Cleveland after missing the final five games of the regular season and hadn’t done much since the Knicks returned to practice. He went through a workout before the game, but the Knicks ruled him out about 45 minutes before the start.

The Knicks tore off a 22-6 run to finish the first quarter and take a 32-21 lead. Six straight points pushed it to a 12-point advantage, and the Knicks kept the margin around double digits most of the second quarter, with the margin still 10 with under 2 minutes to play. But the Heat closed strong and cut it to 55-50 at the break.

New York led 61-53 early in the third before Kevin Love converted a three-point play to trigger a 21-5 spurt by Miami. He added a 3-pointer during it, but his biggest contribution was with his outlet passing. With new Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers sitting courtside, Love fired three long passes for scores, with Butler’s basket on the last one capping the run and giving the Heat a 74-66 lead.

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