On the night the Los Angeles Lakers retired both of Kobe Bryant’s jerseys, Kevin Durant provided his own tribute with a deadly accurate impression of the Black Mamba.
Durant could not hit a shot early on, but simply refused to stop launching and when the game was finally on the line, he did not miss.
Durant on Monday scored 36 points and hit a tiebreaking jumper with 7.3 seconds left in overtime as the Golden State Warriors beat the Lakers 116-114 for their ninth consecutive victory.
Klay Thompson had 17 points and 10 rebounds as the defending NBA champions predictably dampened a celebratory night for the Lakers, who honored Bryant with a halftime ceremony.
“That was for Kobe Night,” Durant said with a grin. “I had to get them up for Kob.”
Durant and Thompson combined to miss 31 of their first 40 shots, allowing the Lakers to keep it close.
Durant was six for 25 in regulation, but he went four for four in overtime, capped by the pure go-ahead jumper that eventually won it.
Stephen Curry missed his fifth straight game with a sprained ankle, while Draymond Green sat out for the fourth time in five games with a sore right shoulder.
Durant and the Warriors still hit enough big buckets to handle the Lakers, but only after plenty of misses.
“I’ve had so many bad shooting nights and I know that it makes just for a better player,” Durant said. “I got better tonight. I fought through it, I was able to make some shots down the stretch and I feel more confident going into my next game shooting the ball.”
The Lakers missed several opportunities down the regulation stretch to seize control of the game.
They also had a chance to tie it at the end, but David West blocked Lonzo Ball’s shot and Brandon Ingram could not beat the buzzer.
“The past two years, we’ve got blown out of games [like this],” said Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr, whose eight points included a thunderous dunk over Durant that brought the crowd to its feet. “Now we’re taking these guys to overtime and it’s going down to the last shot. That’s a huge step in growth. Now the next step is winning these games.”
Kyle Kuzma scored 25 points in a reserve role and Ingram added 19 for the Lakers, who have lost three straight and eight of 10.
Ball had 16 points, six assists and six rebounds.
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