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Warriors head to playoffs for second straight season

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Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors clinched their second consecutive playoffs in style on Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Curry posted his fourth triple-double of the season and Golden State ended an 11-game road losing streak to the Lakers with a 112-95 victory at the Staples Center. The Warriors also won the season-series against their Pacific Division rival for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

Curry was his usual superstar self. The All-Star had 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to help the Warriors make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in over 22 seasons.

“It means a lot,” said Curry. “We know the history of the franchise and to keep making strides to be a perennial playoff team, contenders, is a big time accomplishment. We've got to appreciate it and continue to move forward and close out the season strong and get ready for hopefully another deep playoff run.”

"We are not that far removed from dreaming of this moment,” said Warriors coach Mark Jackson. “Obviously, it was different last year. But all we've been through individually and collectively, to fight, to battle and to find ourselves in the playoffs and continuing to chase down history, says a lot about these guys.”

Klay Thompson and Marreese Speights provided the secondary scoring for Golden State (49-30) with 16 points apiece. David Lee returned after missing seven games and registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes. Steve Blake returned to Staples to play against the Lakers for the first time since he was traded midseason and had 13 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals.

“It was nice to get out here on Staples’ floor again and play some basketball and have fun winning with my teammates,” said Blake.

“He’s (Blake) a big time player,” said Jackson. “We went and got him for a reason because of his toughness. He’s not afraid of the moment and he understands the game.”

Golden State improved to 23-16 away from Oracle Arena and needs only one more win to tie its franchise-record for most road wins in a season. The Warriors have a home game (Minnesota) and two road games (Portland/Denver) remaining on their schedule.

Nick Young led Los Angeles (25-54) with 25 points. Jordan Hill had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Ryan Kelly added 14 points and 11 rebounds. Decimated by injuries, the Lakers dressed just nine players. The Warriors played without Andre Iguodala (right knee tendonitis) and Jermaine O'Neal (left knee).

The game was tied at 26 after the first quarter. Los Angeles shot 45 percent from the floor and held Golden State to 42.9 percent. The Lakers made 6 of 8 3-pointers. The Warriors countered with seven second-chance points and seven fastbreak points.

Golden State took control of the game by ending the first half on a 28-11 run to turn a two-point deficit into a 15-point halftime lead. The Warriors shot 61.9 percent in the second quarter. The Lakers shot 33.3 percent, including missing all seven 3-pointer attempts.

The Warriors scored the first five points in the second half to push the lead to 20. The closest Los Angeles got the rest of the game was 11. Curry picked up his triple-double on a defensive rebound with 41.9 seconds left in the game.

"He’s (Curry) a guy that was very upset last night after the game,” said Jackson. “What the special players do is that they do something about it in between the lines. His will, his determination, his competitive spirit carried us tonight.” The Warriors blew a 20-point lead in a one-point home loss to the Nuggets on Thursday.

Golden State is currently sixth in the Western Conference, 1.5 games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks. If the playoffs started today, the Warriors would return to Staples to take on the Clippers.


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