Warriors shake off rough start and roll past Suns
Durant had 29 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and the Golden State overcame a sloppy start to beat Phoenix 117-107 on Sunday night, handing the Suns their franchise-record 15th consecutive loss.
The defending NBA champs have sputtered some recently while Stephen Curry recovers from a left knee injury. But with two weeks until the postseason begins, the Warriors haven’t lost their edge, starting with Durant.
”Kevin is going to be Kevin no matter what,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. ”He’s got as much ability as anybody, pretty much anybody ever in the history of the game. Put him out there with Steph, great. Put him out there without Steph, great. He’s still going to get any shot he wants and dominate a game.”
Durant carried the Warriors through their slow start, had 17 points by halftime and made three of four shots down the stretch to help Golden State to its 14th consecutive win against Phoenix.
The reigning Finals MVP, Durant said he is still working himself back into shape after a rib injury sidelined him for a handful of games.
”I feel pretty good,” Durant said. ”I know it will take me a couple games to get there but I’m feeling all right now.”
Golden State’s victory was the 263rd under Kerr, tying him for third-most in franchise history. Al Attles (557) and Don Nelson (422) hold the top two spots.
Hours before the game, the Warriors received promising news about McCaw, who was released from a Sacramento hospital with a bruised lumbar spine following a terrifying fall during Saturday’s game against the Kings.
McCaw was able to leave UC Davis Medical Center and was walking after undergoing a series of tests. He is scheduled to be re-examined by a specialist Thursday.
”Just a huge relief,” Kerr said. ”Scariest thing I’ve ever experienced on a basketball floor for sure.”
Golden State had all sorts of problems in the first half. The Warriors committed three turnovers in the first 74 seconds and repeatedly allowed the Suns to drive unimpeded to the hoop and take open shots from the perimeter.
Kerr’s club began turning things around late in the second quarter shortly after Suns’ two-way player Danuel House pump-faked past Nick Young, threw the ball off the backboard then grabbed it and dunked.
Trailing 59-58 at halftime, the Warriors outscored the Suns 36-18 in the third to move in front for good.
Phoenix couldn’t keep up and fell to an NBA-worst 19-59.
”I think our guys compete well for young guys playing against this team,” Suns interim coach Jay Triano said. ”It’s unfortunate we couldn’t withstand a little bit of that barrage of 3s.”
Marquese Chriss and Josh Jackson scored 22 points apiece for the Suns, who last won on Feb. 28 and have dropped 25 of 26.
Warriors: Golden State last lost to the Suns on Nov. 9, 2014 in Phoenix. … Andre Iguodala (left knee soreness) and Omri Casspi (sprained right ankle) did not play. … The Warriors finished March with a 7-7 record, ending their run of 32 consecutive months with a winning record that was the third-longest in NBA history.
Kerr blamed part of the Warriors slow start on the emotional night the team had in Sacramento and the ensuing concern about McCaw. Durant disagreed.
”More than anything it was some technical things that we should have worked on,” Durant said. ”I turned the ball over the second play of the game after Draymond threw a turnover. Once we simplified it and just played simple ball, we were able to gain the lead.”
ADD ONE MORE TO THE LIST
The Suns went into the game without Devin Booker (right hand sprain), Elfrid Payton (left knee tendinopathy), Alex Len (left ankle sprain) and T.J. Warren (left knee inflammation). Then Troy Daniels sore ankle tightened up at halftime, forcing him out of the game.
Warriors: Play at Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.
Suns: Host the Kings on Tuesday.
More AP basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball