With the Cleveland Cavaliers in the middle of turmoil and struggles, Saturday night could very well have been an NBA Finals preview. The results were not much different on this night, compared to what we've seen over the last four years, as Steph Curry out-dueled Kyrie Irving in the Golden State Warriors' 109-105 win over the Boston Celtics. Curry finished with 49 points, including 18 in the third, and 13 in the final four minutes of the game to power the Warriors at home. The hot shooter went 16-of-24 from the floor, including eight three-pointers in Golden State's 40th win of the year. Irving responded with 37 points on 13-of-18 shooting and five three-pointers, but the Celtics lost for the fifth time in the past six games. Kevin Durant added to that effort with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Draymond Green had a typical game with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. Curry's late barrage included a three-pointer with 1:42 to play, a driving layup, and eight free throws. The two-time NBA MVP recorded 40 points in a game for the second time this season and 29th time in his career. He will lead his team on the road for their next matchup against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night. The Celtics' road trip continues when they visit the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
Virginia Edges Duke to Stay Perfect in ACC
In a season full of upsets, especially in the ACC, the second-ranked Virginia Cavaliers are doing their best to prove that they are a team that can rise to the top. They hung on for a major road win on Saturday afternoon, as they took down the fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils, 65-63. Kyle Guy had 17 points to lead Virginia, and hit two free throws with 6.1 seconds left to seal the big win. Ty Jerome added 13 points and Devon Hall had 14 for Virginia, who won their 12th straight game and earned their first win at Duke since January 1995. Virginia also improved to 9-0 in conference play, despite blowing a 10-point halftime lead. Marvin Bagley III helped lead that Duke comeback with 30 points and 14 rebounds, but the Blue Devils suffered their third loss, all of which have come in ACC play. Wendell Carter Jr. also chipped in a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds for Duke, who got the deficit as low as four despite being held 15 points below their season-low point total. The Cavaliers looks to stay perfect in conference play when they visit the Louisville Cardinals on Wednesday night. The Blue Devils will most likely remain in the top 10 and move on to host the short-handed Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Monday night.
West Virginia, UNC, Oklahoma Go Down in Top-15 Upsets
What a surprise, there were three more top-15 upsets in the college basketball world on Saturday, two of which took place in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. That begins with the seventh-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers, who blew a 17-point lead in an 83-76 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats. Kevin Knox led the Wildcats' rally with a career-high 34 points, including 19 in the second half, where Kentucky outscored West Virginia, 50-28. This big performance shuts down his previous career high, which was 25 back on November 26th. The Wildcats' tough second half play included them outrebounding the Mountaineers, 29-13, and making all 18 of their free throws to overcome the road obstacle. Meanwhile, No. 10 North Carolina fell for the second time this week as in-state rival NC State earned an impressive 95-91 overtime victory on Saturday. Allerik Freeman led the Wolfpack with 29 points and hit seven of his teams 15 three-pointers, as they moved above .500 in conference play. The Wolfpack shot 50 percent from beyond the arc in their fourth upset win of the year, as they have also taken down Duke, Arizona, and Clemson. This latest upset came despite Luke Maye's 31 points and 12 rebounds, Theo Pinson's 22 points and 15 rebounds, and UNC's stellar 53 percent shooting. Back in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, there were plenty of scouts watching the top two point guard prospects go head to head. It was freshman Collin Sexton who got the best of Trae Young in Alabama's 80-73 upset of No. 12 Oklahoma. Sexton had 18 points to lead the Crimson Tide, who shot 55 percent from the floor, including 42 percent from three-point range. Young, who has averaged 30 points per game, was held to 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting in the loss. It was just the second time this season that Young was held to fewer than 20 points in a game, as his team fell to 2-4 in true road contests.