03/21 23:52 CDT Durant helps lead Warriors past Pacers after friend's death
Durant helps lead Warriors past Pacers after friend's death
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
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.
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 3-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.
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
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.
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 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.
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 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, getting 39 assists and shooting 54.1 percent and going 13
of 31 on 3s. ... Golden State is 27-4 when notching 30 or more assists (32 on
Thursday). ... Bogut is three regular-season games shy of 700 in 14 seasons.
Pacers: Host Nuggets on Sunday.
Warriors: Host Mavericks on Saturday night having won 12 straight at home in
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports