Durant’s shooting leaves Nets in shreds
Big comeback sparked by small forward
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.
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.
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.