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Unlikely hero Jerebko shines in Warriors win, Bryant lifts Wizard

Los Angeles, Sunday

Jonas Jerebko was an unlikely catalyst as the two-time defending NBA champions Golden State held off the Dallas Mavericks 120-116 in Oakland, California, on Saturday.

On a team that features the superstar quartet of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, it was Sweden’s Jerebko receiving a massive ovation as he departed in the fourth quarter having scored 23 points in 21 minutes with three assists and six rebounds. Durant led the Warriors with 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, but Jerebko’s relentless energy was crucial to the Warriors victory.

“He shot the ball really well, but he got a lot of offensive boards, too,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, adding: “He had several plays that got the crowd into it with his hustle. He gave us a huge lift.”

Jerebko scored nine points in the fourth quarter, contributing a tip-in, a dunk and a three-pointer as the Warriors powered to a 111-96 lead. He was back on the bench as Golden State saw their lead cut to one point. Dallas forward Harrison Barnes’ three-pointer with 33.5 seconds left bounced off the rim and Durant drained a three-pointer to seal the win.

The victory saw the Warriors, who have struggled to find the same dominance they displayed in their past two championship seasons, improve to 22-11, just a shade off the Western Conference lead shared at 21-10 by the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder.  -AFP

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