Durant powers Warriors past Pacers, Nuggets win


OAKLAND, California: Kevin Durant established Golden State’s defensive energy by swatting away shots early. Eventually, the Warriors got going on the other end as they almost always do.

Durant had 15 points, six assists and three blocks after losing a close friend earlier in the day, and the Warriors ran away from the Indiana Pacers 112-89 on Thursday night.

Durant led a balanced Warriors attack, playing the same day childhood friend Cliff Dixon was shot to death in Atlanta. Warriors guard Quinn Cook also was close with Dixon as they’re all from the Washington D.C./Maryland area.

Stephen Curry scored 12 of his 15 points with four 3-pointers during the Warriors’ 35-point third quarter in which they limited Indiana to 19.

Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant (left) blocks a shot from Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner (No. 33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, California. AP PHOTO

“Tonight I thought our spirit and our energy were fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said, crediting his group for being “engaged.”

Tyreke Evans scored 20 points off the bench and Thaddeus Young added 18 for the Pacers, who were without coach Nate McMillan for family reasons.

Indiana ended its four-game swing out West by losing an eighth straight road game and missing another chance to clinch a playoff berth following a 115-109 defeat at the Clippers on Tuesday night.

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The Warriors, whose defense has become a greater focus with the playoffs approaching, have allowed their fewest points in two of the past four games. Oklahoma City scored 88 points Saturday before the two-time defending champions held down Indiana.

Klay Thompson began 0 for 7, missing his first five 3-pointers, and wound up with 18 points on 7-for-18 shooting. He scored his first field goal of the night, which he followed with another basket the next possession, at the 7:46 mark of the second quarter and his first 3 came in the final minute of the first half as Golden State built a 53-43 lead at the break.

Golden State returned from an impressive 3-1 road trip — with wins at Houston, Oklahoma City and Minnesota and a loss at San Antonio — to play its first game at Oracle Arena since a 115-111 flop against lowly Phoenix on March 10.

DeMarcus Cousins returned after missing two games with a sore right ankle and had 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Andrew Bogut received a warm welcome for his home debut after re-joining the Warriors on the road. The 7-foot big man played on Golden State’s 2015 championship team and the 73-win team the following season that lost in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to LeBron James and the Cavaliers, and he got hurt in Game 5 of the finals and missed the rest of the series.

Both teams had slow starts: The game was tied at 19 after the first quarter, when the Warriors were 1 of 10 on 3s.

Meanwhile, Nikola Jokic had 15 points and 11 assists, and the Denver Nuggets beat the fading Washington Wizards 113-108 on Thursday (Friday in Manila) for their fifth straight victory.

Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Torrey Craig also added 15 points for the Nuggets, who were playing for the first time since clinching their first playoff berth in six years with Monday’s win in Boston.

AP

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The post Durant powers Warriors past Pacers, Nuggets win appeared first on The Manila Times Online.



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