War­riors pull out home win over Heat.

11 straight points down the stretch for Golden State

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Con­nor Le­tourneau

Bas­ket­ball is Kevin Du­rant’s re­lease, one of the few things that calms his mind.

Over the past week-plus, as spec­u­la­tion am­pli­fied about his pend­ing free agency this sum­mer, Du­rant found so­lace on the hard­wood. In the War­riors’ 120-118 win Sun­day night over the Mi­ami Heat at Or­a­cle Arena, Du­rant again made sure that all the out­side noise didn’t af­fect his per­for­mance.

“This game was pre­dictably tough, in terms of how they play and their style,” Stephen Curry said. “KD made big shot af­ter big shot down the stretch. I just think we had to be a lit­tle bit more me­thod­i­cal about shots we were try­ing to get.”

Af­ter Mi­ami guard Jus­tise Winslow hit a long jumper with 4:14 left to knot the game

107-107, Du­rant saw his cue, os­cil­lat­ing be­tween for­ays to the rim, midrange jumpers and 3-point­ers. His step-back 29footer with 44.1 sec­onds re­main­ing evened the score at 118-118.

Mo­ments later, when Du­rant missed a go-ahead 3-point try, DeMar­cus Cousins cor­ralled the of­fen­sive re­bound, drew con­tact and hit both foul shots. Dion Wait­ers’ last-gasp try from be­yond the arc clanged off the rim, and Bam Ade­bayo missed a tip as Golden State es­caped with its 15th win in the past 16 games.

Eleven of the War­riors’ fi­nal 13 points came from Du­rant, who fin­ished with a game-high 39. Though he shot 1-for-7 from 3-point range, Du­rant made up for it by go­ing 15-for-17 in­side the arc, in­clud­ing 7-for-8 on midrange jumpers.

Dur­ing his postgame news con­fer­ence, Mi­ami head coach Eric Spoel­stra was frus­trated by two things: He be­lieved that Du­rant dou­ble-drib­bled be­fore his fi­nal 3-point at­tempt, and Mi­ami at­tempted only eight foul shots to Golden State’s 26.

“That should be a vi­o­la­tion, and you can't miss those calls,” Spoel­stra said of Du­rant’s dou­ble-drib­ble. “But we had our chances. It was back and forth.”

Af­ter tak­ing Satur­day off, Golden State held no shootaround Sun­day morn­ing ahead of its 5:30 p.m. game. As Du­rant put it, Mi­ami was “ex­cited to play against us, and we treated it like it was a Sun­day walk in the park.”

The Heat raced to a 26-7 lead be­fore the War­riors fi­nally jolted out of their malaise. Curry chipped in 12 of his 25 points in the sec­ond quar­ter. Be­fore Du­rant took con­trol in crunch time, Klay Thomp­son scored 14 of his 29 points within the first seven min­utes of the fourth.

Golden State was out­re­bounded 50-36, in­clud­ing 19-7 on the of­fen­sive glass, and at­tempted 21 fewer shots than Mi­ami. How­ever, the War­riors made stops when it mat­tered most and shot 53.7 per­cent from the field.

Af­ter the game, Dray­mond Green con­ceded that the NBA’s dog days have ar­rived for Golden State. The ad­di­tion of Cousins last month helped the War­riors guard against the midJan­uary dol­drums that plague most teams. But now, less than a week be­fore the All-Star break, the War­riors are hav­ing a tougher time open­ing games with en­ergy. Two nights be­fore its rough start against the Heat, Golden State dug a 17point, first-quar­ter hole at Phoenix.

Per­haps the best rem­edy for the grind of the NBA sea­son is an im­mense tal­ent ad­van­tage. With Sun­day’s win, the War­riors are 8-0 when start­ing Curry, Thomp­son, Du­rant, Green and Cousins.

No one has been more con­sis­tent than Du­rant, who has scored 20 or more points in 41 of his past 43 games. Not even Wed­nes­day’s postgame news con­fer­ence, in which he spent three min­utes rail­ing against re­porters for cov­er­age of his pend­ing free agency, has de­railed his sea­son.

“He’s one of the best play­ers in the world,” Kerr said. “Un­be­liev­ably tal­ented, and he loves the game. … He just loses him­self in the game, and I thought he did a good job of that tonight.”

“He’s one of the best play­ers in the world. Un­be­liev­ably tal­ented, and he loves the game. … He just loses him­self in the game, and I thought he did a good job of that tonight.”

Steve Kerr, War­riors head coach, on for­ward Kevin Du­rant

Car­los Avila Gon­za­lez / The Chron­i­cle

The War­riors’ Kevin Du­rant shoots over Mi­ami’s Jus­tise Winslow to tie the game at 118.

Pho­tos by Car­los Avila Gon­za­lez / The Chron­i­cle

Klay Thomp­son ges­tures af­ter hit­ting a 3-pointer in the sec­ond half, when he scored 20 of his 29 points against the Heat.

The War­riors’ Dray­mond Green (23) and Shaun Livingston (right) hug Mi­ami’s Dwyane Wade af­ter Golden State’s vic­tory. Wade is ex­pected to re­tire af­ter the sea­son, his 16th in the NBA.

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