WARRIORS Durant, Thompson, Curry deliver in clutch in tense win over Heat
OAKLAND >> The Warriors finished with a 120-118 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday at Oracle for primarily the same reason they have won two consecutive NBA championships.
Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are really good at playing basketball. Durant scored 39 points on 16-of-24 shooting, despite going only 1 of 7 from distance. Thompson had 29 points on a 11-of-21 clip overall and 6-of-13 mark from the perimeter. Curry added 25 points while going 9 of 18 from the field and 5 of 10 from distance.
Technically, DeMarcus Cousins made a pair of foul shots to give the Warriors a 120-118 lead with 5.4 seconds left. Then, Heat guard Dion Waiters missed a 28-footer at the buzzer. But the Warriors (40-15) collected their 15th win out of the past 16 games mostly by leaning on their top scorers.
After the Warriors committed
two costly turnovers. Durant drilled his first 3 of the night to tie the game at 118 with 44 seconds left. Though Curry went 1-of-4 from the field in the first quarter, he went 8 of 14 the rest of the way. And after allowing Durant and Curry to handle most of the workload through the first three quarters, Thompson scored 14 fourth-quarter points.
The Warriors achieved this offensive utopia by ensuring balance in shot attempts to Durant (24), Thompson (21).
The Heat (25-29) featured Josh Richardson (37), Waiters (24), Justise Winslow (22) and Dwyane Wade (10) logging double figures. They combined to go 18 of 43 from 3-point range.
• Warriors veteran reserve Andre Iguodala missed Sunday’s game because of left ham-
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that Iguodala’s hamstring “flared up” toward end of the Friday’s win in Phoenix.
“He felt a little tweak in there,” Kerr said. “So we’re going to play it safe.”
The Warriors have always been cautious with any ailments the 34-yearold Iguodala has. He has missed a combined five games this season because of right hip tightness (three), left calf tightness (one) and rest (one).
Iguodala has averaged 5.8 points on 49.1 percent shooting and 3.3 assists in 23.4 minutes through 49 games. He has also logged double figures in eight games.
• For perhaps the first time in his NBA career, Draymond Green does not feel snubbed over something that implies he has not played his best basketball.
Green will not compete in the NBA All-Star game next Sunday in Charlotte, N.C. It marks the end of a three-year run for the Warriors’ intense defender and versatile playmaker being part of the league’s event reserved for its most elite players. Unlike his reaction to being left off the NBA’s All-Defensive team last season, Green considers the All-Star exclusion as offering “zero” source of motivation.
“I had already planned my vacation anyway. I haven’t played well enough to make the All-Star team,” Green said. “I know that. I’m excited to go on vacation with my family.”
He hopes to have what he called a “mental reset” that he believes will both help him become an AllStar player again and help the Warriors win their fourth NBA championship in five years. After all, the beginning of Green’s season hardly played out as he envisioned. He missed a combined 15 games this season, including 13 because of an injured right toe, another to rest and a one-game suspension for his well-chronicled argument with Durant.
Since then, Kerr has pinpointed Green as the main reason for the Warriors had won 14 of 15 heading into Sunday’s game. During that stretch, Green has averaged 8.1 assists, 7.1 rebounds and only 1.9 turnovers.
Because of that, Green appeared to have an out- side chance to make the AllStar team along with Durant, Curry and Thompson for the third consecutive year. Kerr admitted having doubts, though.
So did Green. “When you make the AllStar game, it’s based on the season. You can’t find your rhythm and then put two or three weeks or a month of good basketball,” Green said. “Guys have been playing well all season. So they should be rewarded for that.”
Green argued that should have included Sixers guard Tobias Harris, who averaged 20.0 points on 49.6 percent shooting this season with the Clippers before dealing him to Philadelphia as part of a move to clear cap space and collect draft picks before Thursday’s trade deadline. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert also believed he should have it too because of the same defensive presence that won him last season’s Defensive Player of the Year award. So much that he cried about the snub on camera.
Green immediately poked fun at Gobert in a tweet. Recently, Green only elaborated about the dig at Gobert by saying “the guy is passionate.” Green spoke more in depth, though, on what sparked the tweet in the first place.
“There’s a lot of people in the world that’s really dumb. They really thought I thought I should’ve made the All-Star game,” Green said. “Maybe people can’t self evaluate. If people can’t self evaluate? For someone who can’t self evaluate themselves, then they think that, ‘Wow, Draymond thinks he’s playing amazing.’ Then they think I can’t self evaluate.”
Instead, Green said he made vacation plans during All-Star weekend with enough confidence that he would not have to cancel them.
“I just haven’t played well enough. Obviously the majority of the time most people are building their All-Star case, I was kind of building conditioning,” Green said. “So it happens. But I’ll be back. I’m not tripping. There were a lot of guys playing well.”
Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins guards Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo during the first half of Sunday evening’s thrilling victory.
Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who led the way with 39 points, is guarded by the Miami Heat’s Justise Winslow.