Thompson, Durant lead injured Warriors to 10th straight win
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant appreciates so many role players doing their part given greater responsibility for the injury-plagued Warriors.
Come playoff time, it could make Golden State that much tougher to beat. [restrict]
Klay Thompson scored 27 of his 29 points in the first half and made his first nine field goals, leading the undermanned Warriors past the Memphis Grizzlies 97-84 on Wednesday night for their 10th straight win.
Durant added 22 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots as Golden State was down five regulars again, including two-time MVP Stephen Curry out for his sixth straight game with a sprained right ankle.
”Obviously we want our whole team back,” Durant said. ”Coach knows how important guys coming off the bench are. It’s only going to be good for confidence.”
Thompson shot 10 for 16 overall and didn’t miss until a 3-point try with 6:10 left before halftime.
Curry tweeted in the midst of Thompson’s hot start: ”Somebody is having a great game!”
Thompson received a rare technical – his seventh in seven seasons – with 10:22 left in the game for arguing when he thought he was fouled.
”Gotta keep my cool,” Thompson said. ”Learn from it.”
He didn’t get as many touches after intermission.
”That’s fine, we won. We’ll take that result every time,” Thompson said.
Marc Gasol had 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Memphis, which started a stretch with seven of eight games on the road. The Grizzlies were 10 of 44 in the second half, shot 12 for 31 from 3-point range and committed 17 turnovers.
”I think we got a little more static in the second half offensively, a little more predictable,” Gasol said. ”The ball didn’t move as much.”
The Warriors had their own issues after the break.
”We were stagnant, we had guys standing around, we didn’t seem to be playing with much energy,” coach Steve Kerr said. ”Guys didn’t want to run. We were standing constantly on the perimeter.”
Omri Casspi came off the bench to contribute 12 points and six rebounds. Kerr would far prefer a healthy roster, but he appreciates the opportunities many of his role players are receiving to play more significant an important minutes.
”I like it,” said Kerr, who certainly wasn’t pleased with the 16 turnovers.
The Warriors began a seven-game homestand in a stretch with nine of 10 games at home before next playing away from Oracle Arena on Jan. 3 at Dallas.
Golden State became the fourth team in NBA history to post double-digit winning streaks in five straight seasons. Also doing so were the San Antonio Spurs (from 2010-16), Boston Celtics (1970-75) and Seattle SuperSonics (1992-97).
”It just says we’ve had lots of talent,” Kerr said. ”It’s a good time to be a Warriors fan, obviously, or a Warriors coach.”
CURRY ON COURT
Curry did some light on-court work at morning shootaround a day after the Warriors said the two-time MVP would be out at least another week with the ankle injury. Kerr said it was Curry’s first time moving laterally, and he wouldn’t scrimmage or practice before being examined again.
”He had a good day today. He was working out with Steve Nash and Q (Bruce Fraser) and got a lot of good stuff and it looked like he was moving pretty well,” Kerr said. ”A good sign.”
Golden State has won all six games since Curry injured the ankle on Dec. 4 at New Orleans.
Curry will miss two more games this week, as well as the Christmas Day showdown against Cleveland before getting evaluated again. [/restrict]