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Durant, Thompson help Warriors beat Blazers, end 4-game skid

November 24, 2018
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Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) dunks in front of Portland Trail Blazers forward Jake Layman (10) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant knew the Warriors would have to earn it and play well in every way to end a frustrating funk that lasted more than a week.

Durant scored 32 points, Klay Thompson had 31 and Golden State snapped its worst losing streak since early 2013 at four games, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 125-97 on Friday night.

“I don’t believe in like, it’s just going to be over when it’s over. In the NBA, I don’t believe in fairytales and the emotions that come into this,” Durant said. “It’s not going to just be over unless we got out there and impose our will on the basketball court like we did tonight. And it’s not going to just happen for us tomorrow. We’ve got to play with that same passion and energy that we played with tonight.”

Durant was 13 of 21 from the field, dished out eight assists, had seven rebounds and three of his team’s 11 blocks. Thompson hit five of his first seven shots and grabbed a season-high eight boards for the undermanned two-time defending champions.

Two-time MVP Stephen Curry, in a car accident earlier in the day that left him uninjured, sat out again with a strained left groin and fellow All-Star Draymond Green also remained sidelined because of a sprained right toe.

Jusuf Nurkic had 22 points and eight rebounds for Portland on a night Damian Lillard shot just 9 of 24 for 23 points and eight assists. CJ McCollum added 19 points and five assists.

Golden State started the second with a 22-5 burst to build a 46-32 lead midway through the quarter. Durant’s driving dunk and three-point play 2:01 before halftime put his team up 59-40.

Coach Steve Kerr knew that once his team returned to better offensive execution — solid screens, sharp cuts, penetrating to the basket — it would lead to more open shots the Warriors hadn’t been getting during this recent funk.

The four-game skid was the longest under fifth-year coach Kerr and Golden State hadn’t lost more than that consecutively since dropping six straight from Feb. 5-19, 2013.

Quinn Cook, playing in Curry’s place, scored 19 points with five 3-pointers as the Warriors went 17 for 32 from deep.

Shaking his head reading the stat sheet, Thompson said, “53 percent is a welcome sight after the week we had.”

“You saw in our energy tonight how much we wanted this win,” Thompson said.

Shaun Livingston scored 11 points and blocked a pair of shots in 16 minutes off the bench, while Jordan Bell contributed five points, seven assists and five rebounds. He has not played regularly this season.

Two of the top teams in the Western Conference were both coming off embarrassing defeats two days earlier: Golden State a 123-95 loss to Oklahoma City and Portland 143-100 at Milwaukee in which the Blazers never led.

The Warriors have won the last eight with the Blazers at home but had lost two straight overall.

“You lose that many games in a row and you’re a championship basketball team, obviously you’re going to be looking to turn that around,” Lillard said.

CURRY CAR CRASH

Curry was driving a black Porsche on Friday morning en route to work when the driver of a Lexus lost control and struck his car. California Highway Patrol Officer Herman Baza said Curry stopped in the center median and as he waited for officers to arrive, another sedan lost control and rear-ended his Porsche. Baza said no one was injured or arrested and that rain was a factor in the crash.

Kerr said his point guard was “a little shaken up” from the scare and “thankfully nobody was hurt and Steph’s doing fine.”

The coach then said playfully: “I think he has another car that he can drive, too. I think he’s going to be OK. Or he can borrow one from somebody else.”

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: The Blazers haven’t won at Golden State since exactly five years ago, 113-101 on Nov. 23, 2013. ... Portland took two of three from the Warriors last season.

Warriors: Durant notched his eighth 30-point performance this season and Thompson his third. ... Golden State improved to 3-5 without Curry this season. ... In the first, Thompson had his fourth career four-point play. ... The Warriors are 2-3 in the first game of back-to-backs so far — 3-1 the next night. ... With so many games bunched together, the Warriors haven’t had time to do much scrimmaging, but DeMarcus Cousins should have more full-speed court time next week and Kerr expects an update on the All-Star center’s rehab from Achilles surgery then. ... Curry missed his eighth straight game with a strained left groin and will be out at least through Saturday’s matchup with Sacramento. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated that day. ... Green was sidelined for the seventh time in nine games — six of those with the injury and he also sat out last week against Atlanta on a team-issued suspension.

UP NEXT

Trail Blazers: Host the Clippers on Sunday riding a four-game winning streak in the series.

Warriors: Host Kings on Saturday having lost the last two at home to Sacramento.

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