After four lopsided wins to open Jason Pierre-PaulJerseythe season, the Golden State Warriors were happy to find themselves in a nail-biter for a change.
It sure helps that they have the MVP on their side.
Stephen Curry scored 31 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with just over a minute to go that led the defending champion Warriors to their fifth straight win to open the season, 112-108 over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
The Warriors had outscored their opponents by a record 100 points in the first four games but fell behind by 10 in the fourth quarter to the Clippers. Harrison Barnes then scored 10 of his 17 points during the 16-2 spurt with Golden State's small-ball lineup to turn the tide.
Chris Paul scored 24 points and Blake Griffin added 23 for the Clippers, who also had won their first four games of the season to give extra meaning to this early season matchup.
An offseason war of words that has been waged between Rivers and several Warriors about what role luck played in their championship last season only added to the drama.
Barnes hit a pair of 3-pointers to start the spurt. Curry then made his first two baskets of the second half - both from long range - to give the Warriors the lead. He raised his arms to the crowd after a 27-footer made it 103-99.
The Clippers went ahead 106-105 when DeAndre Jordan made one of two free throws with 1:16 to Mohamed Sanu Jerseyplay. Curry answered with his seventh 3-pointer to give the Warriors the lead for good as they became the fifth team to start consecutive seasons with five straight wins.
''When we really needed him most, he stepped up for us and he made huge plays shooting deep 3s with people draped all over him,'' interim coach Luke Walton said. ''He's a winner. He showed why he's MVP of the league.''
Both teams actually rallied without their star point guards, with Golden State building a 17-point lead early in the second quarter and the Clippers rallying to the lead with Paul on the bench in the third.