Thompson, Durant lead Warriors past injury-riddled Spurs
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are already thinking about Golden State’s postseason possibilities.
The Warriors’ slow start could be a byproduct of that early daydreaming.
Klay Thompson scored 27 points, Durant had 24 and the Warriors overcame a lethargic first half to beat injury-riddled San Antonio 112-92 on Thursday night, handing the Spurs their fourth straight loss.
Curry added 21 points for Golden State in its first meeting against San Antonio since sweeping the Western Conference finals en route to the NBA title.
“Me and (Durant) were talking about it on the bench tonight,” Curry said. “It is tough to still be Nov. 1st or 2nd and be looking forward to April, May, June. But having gone through the experience last year and three years ago and understanding what it takes to win a championship, it’s kind of cliche, but every game you can learn a little bit something about yourself and continue to build great habits to get there.”
One lesson is staying focused against the Spurs, even as the five-time champions face their own struggles.
San Antonio played without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, as they did in the conference finals. Unlike those blowout victories, the Warriors struggled to close out the Spurs.
“We might as well start every game here down 20,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “Other than the playoffs last year, that will be four or five straight games where that happened. You have to be able to match the Spurs’ intensity, especially because they’re such a good rebounding team.”
The Warriors took their first lead two minutes into the third quarter at 60-57 on Durant’s 3-pointer.
Durant missed his first eight shots and the Spurs made six 3-pointers in the first quarter in bolting to an early double-digit lead.
Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 10 rebounds, continuing his resurgent season.
“LaMarcus was magnificent,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s been magnificent every game. His perseverance his hustle, his focus has been off the charts. He’s done a great job.”
Kyle Anderson added 16 points in place of Leonard, who has not played this season while suffering from an injured right quadriceps.
San Antonio led 31-12 lead after Golden State went scoreless for 4 1/2 minutes midway through the opening period.
Golden State slowly cut into the lead behind its defense. After shooting 48 percent in the first quarter, the Spurs were held to 33 percent in the second quarter. San Antonio was 1 for 5 on 3-pointers and 7 for 21 overall in the second quarter.
“Our focus (sparked the rally), especially on the defensive end, and not fouling,” Thompson said. “Those two things are great because when we do that, we are able to get out in transition and get easy buckets. Our focus on that side of the ball was really good.”
Thompson finished 11 for 17 from the field, including 5 for 8 on 3-pointers.
The Spurs finished 7 for 24 on 3-pointers, failing to make a 3 in the second half after draining six in the opening quarter.
“We contested shots, we rebounded and we got out in transition,” Durant said.
Zaza Pachulia, making his first appearance in San Antonio since Leonard was lost after landing on the center’s foot in Game 1, was heavily booed throughout the game.
Warriors: Golden State has made at least 10 3-pointers in each of its games this season. The Warriors were 14 for 28 on 3s against the Spurs. ... Thompson has a 3-pointer in 63 straight games, the league’s longest active streak. ... Durant has scored at least 20 points in all but one of the team’s nine games this season. ... JaVale McGee played in his 500th career game. ... Golden State closes out a three-game trip in Denver.
Spurs: Leonard and Parker have played a combined three quarters against the Warriors in the last five games, including the postseason. ... Parker missed the entire conference finals with a ruptured quadriceps tendon and Leonard aggravated an ankle injury in the third quarter of the opening game. ... Mills made his 600th career 3-pointer, 551 of which have come with the Spurs. ... San Antonio is 62-19 at home against Golden State. . Brandon Paul is the first Spurs rookie to play over 105 minutes in his first eight games since Kawhi Leonard did so in 2011.
Popovich told TNT that Leonard could return in three weeks after missing the entire preseason and the first eight games of the regular season due to a right quadriceps injury.
When asked if that was true, Pop demurred.
“You can’t trust the media,” Popovich said, chuckling. “Come on.”
Golden State had 11 blocked shots, including an emphatic block by Thompson on Aldridge.
The block led to an animated celebration by Thompson, followed by an ensuing turnover.
“It felt great, until I turned it over and got pulled out,” Thompson said. “That is karma for you. But it felt really good.”
Popovich was ejected with 4:47 remaining in the game after complaining Patrick McCaw was not called traveling minutes after Aldridge was assessed a traveling violation.
Warriors: Visit Denver on Saturday night trying to end a two-game skid against the Nuggets.
Spurs: Host Charlotte on Friday night in the second of a six-game homestand.
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