Durant helps lead Warriors past Pacers after friend's death
ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 22, 2019 12:54 PM
Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant, left, blocks a shot from Indiana Pacers' Myles Turner (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
By Janie McCauley, Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant had 15 points, six assists and three blocked shots after losing a close friend earlier in the day, and the Golden State Warriors ran away from the Indiana Pacers 112-89 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time).
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.
"I know he will be playing with a heavy heart," coach Steve Kerr said of Durant.
Stephen Curry scored 12 of his 15 points with four three-pointers during the Warriors' 35-point third quarter in which they held Indiana to 19.
Tyreke Evans scored 20 points off the bench and Thaddeus Young added 18 points for the Pacers.
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 (Wednesday, PHL time).
Klay Thompson began 0-for-7, missing his first five three-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 triple 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 (Mar. 11, PHL time).
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 (Sunday, PHL time) before the two-time defending champions held down Indiana.
DeMarcus Cousins returned after missing two games with a sore right ankle and had 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Andrew Bogut made a short home debut after re-joining the Warriors on the road. The seven-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 three's.
Kerr still expects Bogut to make an impact even with Cousins healthy again and despite "an insurance-policy role."
And Bogut was greeted exactly how Kerr figured — with "a raucous reception."
The big man waved and smiled as fans cheered when video highlights were shown on the big screen with "Welcome back Andrew Bogut."
"I think our fans recognize that, in many ways, Andrew represented the shift in the Warriors organization and its emphasis on defense," Kerr said. "I think that trade was really kind of the first domino to fall in terms of — well Steph's drafting was the first one, let's not forget that one — but shortly thereafter Andrew came over in the trade and there was an organizational shift towards a defensive mindset which I think Mark Jackson implemented and the players started to reflect that philosophy. Things like the Bogut trade and the Andre (Iguodala) signing. Then some of the guys just developed like Klay and Draymond. Bogues was pretty much here for all of this and has helped this franchise win a championship and he's going to get a fantastic reception tonight and I look forward to it."
Pacers: G Darren Collison sat out a second straight game with a bruised right quadriceps muscle. When he missed Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) it snapped his streak of 71 straight starts this season. ... Indiana is 4-9 on the road vs. the Western Conference, having lost the last five.
Warriors: All five Warriors starters scored in double figures for the fourth time, with Golden State winning each of those. ... The Warriors won 132-100 at Indiana on Jan. 28 (Jan. 29, PHL time), getting 39 assists and shooting 54.1 percent and going 13-of-31 on three's. ... Golden State is 27-4 when notching 30 or more assists (32 on Friday, PHL time). ... Bogut is three regular-season games shy of 700 in 14 seasons.
Pacers: Host Nuggets on Sunday (Monday, PHL time).
Warriors: Host Mavericks on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) having won 12 straight at home in the series.