KEVIN Durant and Klay Thompson made sure the Golden State Warriors didn’t skip a beat despite missing Stephen Curry for the first time this season.
The Warriors got off to a hot start but had to rely on Durant and Thompson’s clutch hits to overcome a relentless Portland Trailblazers side that clawed back from 21 points down to escape with a 113-111 win at the Moda Center on Sunday (Monday, Manila time).
Golden State got going early behind Durant, who led a 12-2 run early in the second quarter to post their largest lead at 21, 51-30. But Portland managed to cut it down to three entering the break, and even tied the game at 68 midway through the third.
Back-to-back triples by Andre Iguodala gave the Warriors some separation into the fourth quarter, 84-74. Still, the Blazers had no quit in them as they got off to a 19-9 start in the period to tie it up at 93 with more than six minutes left.
Durant hit consecutive baskets inside the final two minutes before Thompson nailed a big triple to put the Warriors up by seven, 106-99, with 37 seconds left. Damian Lillard kept Portland in the game with four straight points and CJ McCollum hit his fourth triple in the quarter to get within two, 109-107, with 17 ticks to go.
Thompson then made up for a split at the stripe with four crucial free throws to keep the Warriors ahead by four. But after Evan Turner got the Blazers within two, Durant was whistled for an offensive foul, setting up one last chance for Portland to complete the comeback. Turner, however, missed on his three-point attempt at the buzzer and Golden State escaped with its third straight win.
Durant led all scorers with 33 points and added 10 rebounds and six assists. Thompson finished with 27 markers for the Warriors (41-7), with Curry sidelined by a stomach flu. Zaza Pachulia and Andre Iguodala chipped in 14 and 12 points, respectively.
McCollum had 12 of his 28 points in the fourth, including four triples, but the Blazers (21-28) saw their rally fall short and their three-game win streak snapped. Lillard and Turner scored 19 and 18, respectively, while Mason Plumlee had a double-double of 15 markers and 11 rebounds.