CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – Kemba Walker loves a good challenge.
So when Stephen Curry started lighting it up Monday night in his homecoming game, Walker decided it was time to match him.
The other eight players might as well have been on the bench watching in the final few minutes, when Walker scored Charlotte’s final 15 points to lead the Bobcats to a 115-111 win over Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
Walker finished with 31 points — 27 in the second half — while battling neck and neck with Curry, who finished with a season-high 43 points, 32 of them coming in the second half including 19 in the final quarter.
When it was suggested it was like watching a pair of heavyweight champions going at it, teammate Gerald Henderson looked over at his 185-cm, 83-kg teammate and cracked, “Well, maybe a featherweight championship fight.”
Walker just smiled and shook his head, perhaps too tired to fire back a witty volley after spending the night fighting through screens and chasing Curry around the court.
“It is fun,” Walker said of facing Curry. “Everybody knows he’s a great player, a great scorer. I love to play against the best. He made some tough shots. I thought I played some good defense, but it was better offense at times. We came out with the win. That’s all I really care about at this point.”
Golden State never led, but Curry kept his team within striking distance.
He knocked down an 8.5-meter shot with Walker’s hand in his face to cut the Bobcats’ lead to 111-109 with 11 seconds left. But the Warriors were forced to foul and Walker hit four free throws in the final 11 seconds to seal the victory.
Clippers 94, 76ers 83
In Philadelphia, Blake Griffin scored 26 points, Chris Paul added 25 points and 13 assists, and short-handed Los Angeles defeated the 76ers.
Nuggets 95, Wizards 74
In Washington, Wilson Chandler scored 17 points, Nate Robinson added 16, and Kenneth Faried had a key block and transition dunk with 33 seconds left to lift Denver past the Wizards.
Grizzlies 94, Magic 85
In Memphis, Zach Randolph had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Jon Leuer added 16 points and a career-best 12 boards to lead the hosts over Orlando.
Kings 112, Mavericks 97
In Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins had 32 points and 19 rebounds, and Derrick Williams scored a career-high 31 to pace the Kings against Dallas.
Trail Blazers 105, Jazz 94
In Salt Lake City, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points and Damian Lillard added 17 to guide Portland past Utah.
Kings acquire Gay
Sacramento California AP
The trade sending Rudy Gay from the Toronto Raptors to the Sacramento Kings is complete.
The teams announced the seven-player deal Monday, less than 24 hours after they reached an agreement. The Raptors received point guard Greivis Vasquez and forwards Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes. The Kings also acquired center Aaron Gray and forward Quincy Acy.
Gay is making $17.8 million this season. He holds a $19.3 million player option for the 2014-15 season.
He is averaging 18 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his career.