Du­rant’s shoot­ing leaves Nets in shreds

Big come­back sparked by small for­ward

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in New York

The Golden State War­riors knew they would need en­ergy be­cause they were miss­ing the guy who of­ten pro­vides it, so they weren’t to­tally sur­prised by their poor first half against the Brook­lyn Nets on Thurs­day night.

“It’s kind of what we ex­pected,” coach Steve Kerr said. “I don’t know I ex­pected to be down 16 at the half, but I knew that they would come out and give us a hell of a fight.”

The War­riors ended up win­ning eas­ily.

Small for­ward Kevin Du­rant had 26 points, nine re­bounds and seven as­sists as Golden State turned an ugly start into an easy fin­ish in a 117-101 vic­tory.

Klay Thomp­son added 23 points for the War­riors, who opened a three-game road trip that leads into their NBA Fi­nals re­match in Cleve­land on Christ­mas.

They didn’t look ready while fall­ing be­hind by 16 at half­time, but were back to their some­times un­stop­pable selves while outscor­ing the Nets by 32 points over the fi­nal 24 min­utes.

“I felt like we were all pos­i­tive com­ing into the locker room,” Du­rant said.

“No point­ing fin­gers. None of that stuff. We knew it was just a mat­ter of time.”

Stephen Curry and Zaza Pachu­lia each fin­ished with 15 points for the War­riors, who played without Dray­mond Green, who re­turned to the Bay Area early on Thurs­day af­ter the birth of his son.

Brook Lopez scored 28 points for Brook­lyn, but just five in the sec­ond half as the Nets dropped their fourth straight. They com­plete a back-to-back against the past two NBA cham­pi­ons when they visit Cleve­land on Fri­day.

“I thought we stuck with it, we did a good job try­ing to stick with it, but again I think a lot of it is just more on us and what we stopped do­ing than any­thing,” Lopez said.

Golden State earned its sixth con­sec­u­tive win and im­proved the NBA’s best record to 26-4.

The War­riors had won their last two games by a com­bined 75 points but didn’t play much de­fense in the first quar­ter of this one, al­low­ing 34 points, and then couldn’t find their of­fense in the sec­ond, man­ag­ing just 16 while the Nets dom­i­nated be­hind Lopez.

Brook­lyn led 65-49 at the break.

Golden State re­turned with 12 straight to cut it to 65-61 on Curry’s jumper, outscored the Nets 39-19 and took an 88-84 edge to the fourth.

It was soon 103-91 af­ter con­sec­u­tive bas­kets by Shaun Liv­ingston, and the War­riors kept pour­ing it on un­til they got their starters to the bench.

Kerr said he was dis­ap­pointed with him­self for not try­ing harder to per­suade Green not to travel with the team to New York on Wed­nes­day.

“We had a good dis­cus­sion af­ter the Utah game about whether he should come or not and he was con­vinced that the baby was not go­ing to ar­rive for about a week,” Kerr said.

“Typ­i­cal father. The women are right, the men are wrong in th­ese things. But he was con­vinced it wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen for a week so we kind of re­lented and said all right come with us, and then of course we prac­tice last night and then I woke up this morn­ing, there was a text from him say­ing he had taken off back to Oak­land.”

Nets coach Kenny Atkin- son was asked his re­ac­tion when he saw the sched­ule had given his team the Golden State-Cleve­land back-to­back.

“I asked Sean if I could take the week off,” Atkin­son joked, re­fer­ring to GM Sean Marks.

Tip-ins

War­riors: Golden State im­proved to 8-0 against the Eastern Con­fer­ence ... Kerr said the War­riors don’t know if Green will re­turn on the road trip, but thought the Michi­gan State prod­uct might want to be back for Fri­day’s game at Detroit.

Nets: Jeremy Lin fin­ished with 10 points, 11 as­sists and eight re­bounds. It was just his 10th game all sea­son be­cause of in­juries and his first at home since Nov 2, when he orig­i­nally strained his left ham­string.

NI­COLE SWEET / USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Brook Lopez of the Brook­lyn Nets drives the lane against Golden State War­riors’ Kevin Du­rant (left) and Stephen Curry dur­ing Golden State’s 117-101 vic­tory in Brook­lyn on Thurs­day.

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