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NBA scores 2016: Stephen Curry is just too hot for the Heat

Steph torches the Heat, Denver's upset in LA and the rest of the action from Wednesday in the NBA.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat almost looked like they were going to win a big one Wednesday night, then it happened again. Stephen Curry caught fire, Miami had no answer and the Golden State Warriors found their way to a 118-112 victory in yet another game where the opponents seemed to have a chance, right until they didn't.

Miami, which has taken on a new identity behind Goran Dragic in wake of Chris Bosh's health issues, played Golden State tough for most of the game. Dwyane Wade turned back the clock with 32 points, Hassan Whiteside went 21-13 and Luol Deng also had a double-double. Midway through the second quarter, the Heat led by 12. They still had a one-point lead with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

But then the inevitable happened. Or at least at this point, it almost feels like fate, Curry's impenetrable confidence ensuring that something will happen because you can't possibly stop the Warriors for an entire game. Over the next minute in Miami, the reigning MVP would hit two threes, the defense would clamp down and that was that. Miami, so solid and deserving of a victory for 46 minutes, simply couldn't hang with the champs in crunch time.

This is pretty much what the Warriors do. Even when they don't quite manage to blow out an opponent, you know those final few minutes are going to be absolute agony for whoever's trying to take down the king. Curry and company have become beyond lethal late in games, and it's been a big part of what's separated Golden State from past great teams en route to a 51-5 record.

Overall, the Warriors outscore their opponents by 12.7 points per game. It's amazing, and it's actually second in the NBA behind San Antonio. But in the final five minutes when the margin is five or fewer points, Golden State outscores its opponents by 39.7 points per 100 possessions, per No other team has a net rating better than 20 points per 100 possessions in those situations. When it comes to crunch time, the Warriors are simply embarrassing everyone they face.

Curry and Thompson continue to be lethal in general. The former had 42 points on 14-of-29 shooting, including 6 of 12 from three. The latter scored 33 on 13-of-25 shooting, including 4 of 8 from three. They combined for 19 of the Warriors' 21 points in the last five minutes. Against a team like Miami, which doesn't have the shooting ability to keep up on any sort of level with scoring at that pace, it was game over.

And that goes for pretty much every other team, too. The Warriors will beat most teams before the final five minutes, but if they must win in crunch time, they kick it into overdrive. Once that happens, good luck.

3 other things from Wednesday

Nuggets stun Clippers at Staples

Two nights after a 40-point beat down of the Suns, the Clippers offered up the other side of the spectrum with a disappointing 87-81 loss to the Nuggets. Denver, which entered 13 games below .500, held LA to 37 percent shooting from the field and just seven free throws from players not named DeAndre Jordan. That helped limit the Clippers' attack throughout the game.

On the offensive end for Denver, Kenneth Faried had a big day with 21 points and 11 rebounds, including six of the offensive variety. Gary Harris added 17 points and Danilo Gallinari scored 16. Emmanuel Mudiay shot just 1 of 12, but deserves credit for committing zero turnovers in 30 minutes and maintaining his intensity on the defensive end. In Mudiay's first 42 NBA games, he had zero turnovers just once. He's now done it in back-to-back contests.

Bulls' backup crew keeps pace

Without Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler or Joakim Noah, these aren't the Bulls we're used to, but an injury-challenged Chicago keeps playing tough in the East. E'Twaun Moore scored 17 and Pau Gasol fell just short of a triple-double as the Bulls beat the Wizards, 109-104, for their third straight victory Wednesday night.

Injuries and struggles on the court have crushed the Bulls' hopes of a deep playoff run, but the team remains in the hunt after slipping up early in the month. With a 30-26 record, Chicago is currently sixth in a crowded conference. Doug McDermott is showing some signs of progress as a scorer, too, so all is not lost even as bad fortune helps sink this season.

Lakers, Sixers keep losing in race to the bottom

After both teams missed out on the No. 1 pick last year, Los Angeles and Philadelphia are once again shaping up like favorites for the top selection in 2016. The 76ers hold onto the league's worst record at 8-49 after a 111-91 loss to the Pistons on Wednesday. The Lakers lost to the Grizzlies, 128-119, to fall to 11-48. Behind those two teams are Phoenix (14-43), Brooklyn (15-42) and Minnesota (18-40).

The draft odds are especially important to the Lakers and 76ers because LA owes Philly its 2016 first-round pick if it doesn't fall in the top three. Higher odds would give the Lakers a better shot of at least getting one of the first three picks, even if it's not No. 1 overall. For the Sixers, the dream scenario would obviously be to win the lottery, then have the Lakers' pick fall to No. 4 and into their hands.

Play of the night

Come on.

5 fun things

Lance Stephenson produced one of the wackiest layup attempts you'll ever see

A tumbling Tony Snell took out a poor cameraman, then kicked a beer out of a fan's hand

Doug McDermott threw down a baseline dunk so nasty it confused the announcers

Watching Stephen Curry as an opposing fan can be a cruel experience

Willie Cauley-Stein with the sweet Euro-step

Final scores

Cavaliers 114, Hornets 103 (Fear The Sword recap | At The Hive recap)

Pistons 111, 76ers 91 (Detroit Bad Boys recap | Liberty Ballers recap)

Pacers 108, Knicks 105  (Indy Cornrows recap | Posting and Toasting recap)

Warriors 118, Heat 112 (Golden State of Mind recap | Hot Hot Hoops recap)

Raptors 114, Timberwolves 105 (Raptors HQ recap | Canis Hoopus recap)

Grizzlies 128, Lakers 119 (Grizzly Bear Blues recap | Silver Screen and Roll recap)

Bulls 109, Wizards 104 (Blog A Bull recap | Bullets Forever recap)

Clippers 87, Nuggets 81 (Clips Nation recapDenver Stiffs recap)

Thunder 116, Mavericks 103 (Welcome To Loud City recap | Mavs Moneyball recap)

Spurs 108, Kings 92 (Pounding The Rock recapSactown Royalty recap)

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