MIAMI – The league’s leading shot blocker was coming at him, and even that wasn’t enough to bother Stephen Curry.
It was the biggest moment of the night, and the MVP delivered.
Curry connected on the go-ahead 3-pointer over the outstretched arm of Miami center Hassan Whiteside with 38 seconds left, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Miami Heat 118-112 on Wednesday in a game that featured 13 lead changes in the fourth quarter alone.
“It was a huge test,” Curry said. “On the road, any time you play against a playoff basketball team, it’s going to be a tough task.”
Curry finished with 42 points, and Klay Thompson scored 15 consecutive points for Golden State in the fourth on his way to a 33-point night.
Curry made a pair of free throws with 18.5 seconds left to get to the 40-point mark for the ninth time this season, and soon the Warriors walked off a winner for the 51st time in 56 games this season.
But Miami more than made them earn it.
“We had our opportunities,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Our guys played their butts off. . . . This is for competitors only. This is competition at its finest.”
Dwyane Wade had a season-high 32 points and seven assists for Miami, which led by 12 early and went up 108-107 when Wade made a pair of free throws with 56.5 seconds left.
On the next possession, Whiteside blocked a 3-point try from Draymond Green — his Twitter nemesis, after they exchanged words on the social media platform last year — but the ball found its way to Curry, who connected.
“A great player made some great plays at the end,” Wade said.
Whiteside had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat, who got 16 points from Luol Deng and 15 from rookie Josh Richardson. Harrison Barnes scored 11 and Green finished with 10 points and 11 boards for the Warriors.
For a team that has had its resilience tested mightily lately — first the loss of All-Star forward Chris Bosh to a blood clot in his leg, presumably for the rest of the season, and now backup point guard Beno Udrih to season-ending foot surgery — the Heat came out flying. They held Golden State to 35 percent shooting in the first quarter, leading by as many as 12 in the early going.
Curry kept the Warriors in it. He was 6-for-11 in the opening quarter, including a 12.2-meter shot to end the period. His teammates were just 2-for-12 in the opening 12 minutes.
Miami’s lead was 55-51 at the half, and the Heat survived an early spurt by Golden State out of intermission to take an 83-80 edge into the fourth.
“Miami outplayed us much of the game,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “But we hung in there until Steph and Klay took over.”
Cavaliers 114, Hornets 103
In Cleveland, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving each scored 23 points and the hosts beat Charlotte.
Bulls 109, Wizards 104
In Chicago, Taj Gibson and E’Twaun Moore each scored 17 points, Tony Snell added 16 and a thrown-together roster of Bulls backups beat Washington.
Three of Chicago’s top four scorers missed the game and the fourth was sick. Derrick Rose was a last-minute scratch with right hamstring tendinitis.
Pacers 108, Knicks 105
In Indianapolis, Paul George scored 25 of his 27 points in the second half to lead the hosts over New York.
Raptors 114, Timberwolves 105
In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points and Kyle Lowry added 21 as the Raptors defeated Minnesota for a franchise record-tying ninth straight home victory.
Pistons 111, 76ers 91
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Tobias Harris led a balanced offense with 22 points and teammate Andre Drummond had 18 boards.
Spurs 108, Kings 92
In Sacramento, Tony Parker scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and San Antonio beat the Spurs for its third straight victory.
Thunder 116, Mavericks 103
In Dallas, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scored 24 points apiece and Oklahoma City completed a season sweep of the Mavericks.
Grizzlies 128, Lakers 119
In Memphis, Matt Barnes scored a season-high 25 points as the Grizzlies led from start to finish.
Nuggets 87, Clippers 81
In Los Angeles, Kenneth Faried had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Denver topped the Clippers for its first victory since the All-Star break.