Durant leads Warriors past Lakers for 11th straight win
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Steve Kerr had been waiting to see rookie Jordan Bell play significant minutes alongside Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
With Green back to full strength, Bell got to shine – and the Golden State Warriors needed every little thing he provided on both ends.
Now Kerr just wants to add a healthy Stephen Curry back to the mix and give that lineup a nice long look.
Durant had 33 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four blocks, and the Warriors held off the Los Angeles Lakers 113-106 on Friday night for their 11th straight victory.
Bell recorded his first career double-double with season bests of 20 points and 10 rebounds, making a key layup with 2:45 to go and dunking a minute later.
”They’re the main guys on this team so the fact he wants to see me play with them more is a good sign for me in the future,” Bell said of Kerr, who loves the rookie’s instincts and wants him to keep learning at this level.
Klay Thompson scored 16 points and Green added 13 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as he came back from a shoulder injury for the defending champs.
Kyle Kuzma scored 27 points and fellow rookie Lonzo Ball had 24 points with five 3-pointers in his first visit to Oracle Arena. Julius Randle added 21 points off the bench for Los Angeles, which snapped the Rockets’ 14-game winning streak Wednesday night in Houston.
Durant shot 9 for 20 in the Warriors’ 10th win in a row at home against the Lakers and sixth overall after Golden State outlasted the Lakers in overtime Monday night in Los Angeles.
Kerr and Lakers coach and former top Golden State assistant Luke Walton had a nice chat near the Warriors bench after the final buzzer.
Still without two-time MVP Curry, Golden State got some much-needed reinforcements.
Green returned after missing five of six games with soreness in his right shoulder, while Andre Iguodala also was back after sitting out Wednesday night’s win against Memphis with flu-like symptoms.
”That was huge. I don’t think we win that game without Andre and Draymond,” Kerr said. ”It’s great to have Draymond back after his absence. He brings an energy to the game that otherwise was lacking last game.”
The Lakers, who trailed by as many as 23 in the third quarter before getting within 84-72 going into the final 12 minutes, briefly took their first lead of the night at 89-88 on Randle’s 3-pointer with 7:43 remaining.
Los Angeles cut the lead to 86-81 on a steal by Josh Hart and Kuzma’s layup with 9:39 left, then 88-86 when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a 3-pointer at the 8:09 mark.
”The way they compete night in and night out playing against some really good teams lately is really impressive,” Walton said.
Lakers: C Brook Lopez missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. … Los Angeles shot 11 for 29 from long range after making 15 3-pointers against the Rockets two days earlier. The Lakers shot 33.3 percent in getting outscored 34-20 in the second quarter to fall behind 61-44 at halftime.
Warriors: Durant went 12 for 13 at the line – making his first seven – to go over the 1,000 mark for career free throws. … Shaun Livingston (sore right knee) and Zaza Pachulia (left shoulder soreness) were still out for Golden State. Pachulia missed his sixth straight game and seventh in eight, while Livingston sat out his third in a row. … Golden State went 13 for 24 (54.2 percent) in the second.
UNDER CAREFUL WATCH
Caldwell-Pope started and had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists but was 4 for 16 and missed nine of his 10 3s. He is serving a 25-day sentence at an Orange County detention center after violating his probation on a drunken driving arrest, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
”Obviously it affected him tonight,” Walton said.
Caldwell-Pope is allowed to leave the Seal Beach Police Department Detention Center for practice and Lakers games in California under a work-release program, but must wear a GPS monitor outside the facility. He said he has been getting extra work with the ball boys and interns.
”It’s not hard. I can still get in and do my work, practice, get shots up. I just have to continue to stay in the gym,” he said. ”It’s tough but I’m back with them now and I feel good.”
Caldwell-Pope had missed two road games, and wasn’t to travel for games in Houston on Dec. 31 and Minnesota on Jan. 1.
NO CURRY FOR CHRISTMAS
While Curry could test his sprained right ankle with some on-court work Sunday, Kerr said it would be ”irresponsible” to play him Christmas Day against the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals rematch.
”As much as everybody wants to see him, as much as I want to see him on the floor, we have to be smart with this – 99.999 percent that he’s out,” Kerr said.
Lakers: Host Portland on Saturday to begin a stretch with four home games over seven days, including Christmas against Minnesota.
Warriors: Host the Nuggets on Saturday before welcoming the Cavaliers on Christmas Day in an NBA Finals rematch.
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