LOS ANGELES, United States May 31 – Stephen Curry scored 36 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 96-88 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday and into an NBA title rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors, trying to cap a sensational season that included a record 73 regular-season victories with a second straight title, sealed the 4-3 series victory in the Western Conference finals on their home floor in Oakland, California clawing back after trailing 3-1 in the series.
The Warriors, who became the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series, host LeBron James and the Cavaliers in game one of the finals on Thursday.
Golden State trailed by as many as 13 in the first half and by eight early in the third quarter.
Curry, who earned Most Valuable Player honors for the second straight season, hit five of the Warriors’ 10 second-half three-pointers as the reigning champions rallied to oust the third-seeded Thunder.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Klay Thompson and Draymond Green gave the Warriors an 88-77 lead with 4:44 to play.
The Thunder wouldn’t go quietly, with a scoring drive from Russell Westbrook and seven straight points from Kevin Durant pulling the Thunder within 90-86 with 1:40 remaining.
Curry, fouled on a three-point attempt, made all three free-throws, then produced a three-pointer that put the Warriors up by 10 with 26.8 seconds to play.
Thompson’s six three-pointers made up most of his 21 points. Green finished with 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds for Golden State.
Durant led the Thunder with 27 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Westbrook had 19 points and 13 assists, but connected on just seven of 21 shots from the field.
Overall the Thunder shot just 38.2 percent from the field — which helped doomed their bid to become the first team in NBA history to beat two 65-win teams in the same post-season.
The Thunder had eliminated Western Conference second seeds San Antonio in the second round.