Lee’s late 3 lifts Warriors over winless Bulls 129-128
CHICAGO (AP) — Although Stephen Curry is one of the best finishers in NBA history, he was more of a decoy late on Sunday night.
Damion Lee hit a 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds remaining and Curry scored 36 points, sending Golden State to a 129-128 victory over the Chicago Bulls for the Warriors’ first win of the season.
With the Chicago defense focused on the sharp-shooting Curry, Lee inbounded the ball to Kevon Looney with 5 seconds left and then ran over to receive a handoff with Curry drawing a crowd on the left wing. Lee fired from a few feet beyond the top of the 3-point arc for the game-winner.
Lee was the third option on the play behind Curry and Andrew Wiggins.
“It just shows how much the coaching staff and my teammates believe in me,” Lee said. “I’m going to enjoy it. The main thing is we got the win.”
Lee finished with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting on 3s.
Curry was 11 for 25 from the field, including 5 of 15 on 3-pointers — a day after making 105 straight 3s to finish practice at the Bulls’ facility.
“(Lee) handled it great,” Curry said of the final play. “Him and Loon had a great connection. He was ready to shot. He made a lot of big shots tonight and that was the biggest one to keep us from an 0-3 hole.”
Zach LaVine had 33 points and appeared to hit the game-winner for winless Chicago with a 10-foot pullup with 5 seconds to play. LaVine, though, thought he left too much time on the clock.
“I think I shot it a little too early,” he said. “I wish I had shot the ball with two or three seconds on the clock. Even if I miss, we still have overtime.”
Wendell Carter Jr. had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Lauri Markkanen added 22 for the Bulls (0-3). Chicago committed 24 turnovers. Markkanen sat out the final few minutes with a calf contusion.
With his first 3 late in the first quarter, Curry became the third NBA player to amass 2,500 career made 3-pointers. Ray Allen (2,973) and Reggie Miller (2,560) are the others.
Sunday’s game was Curry’s 702nd in the NBA. Allen played in 1,300 games and Miller 1,389.
Late in the third quarter, Curry set a Warriors record for most consecutive made free throws with his 61st dating to last season. He finished 9 for 9 for the game to run his streak to 64.
Rick Barry, who shot underhand from the line, held the previous record with 60 straight in 1976.
Golden State led 60-56 at halftime, but Chicago started quickly in the third and grabbed an 83-73 advantage with 4 1/2 minutes left in the quarter. The Bulls led 97-93 entering the fourth.
With the score tied at 100, the Bulls went on a 10-2 spurt for a 110-102 lead with under eight minutes to play. LaVine scored the final seven points, capping the run with a dunk.
The Bulls maintained the multi-possession margin until Curry hit a 3 with 2:02 left to pull Golden State to 123-121. Otto Porter Jr. then made a 3 for the Bulls with 54 seconds to go, but Curry answered with a three-point play.
After a miss by LaVine, Looney tied it on a putback with 16.9 seconds remaining, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.
Warriors: F Draymond Green (right foot) missed his third straight game, but scrimmaged on Saturday and is close to returning. “Draymond got through the scrimmage really well,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We felt from a conditioning standpoint, it made sense to give him the next two games off and give him another four, five days of conditioning.”
Bulls: F Thaddeus Young (lower left leg infection) missed his third consecutive game.
Golden State C Marquese Chriss suffered a fibular fracture and ankle injury to his right leg during a scrimmage at practice on Saturday. He is out indefinitely and will undergo surgery later this week. The 23-year-old averaged 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in the Warriors’ first two games.
“He went up for a lob and landed awkwardly,” Kerr said. “We don’t know how long he’ll be out. We’ll know more after surgery.”
Warriors: At the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday in the final game of a season-opening four-game road trip.
Bulls: At the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night. The teams also play Thursday in the nation’s capital.
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