Tue, May 08, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Warriors take 3-1 lead over Pelicans

BOUNCING BACK:After losing Game 3 by 19 points on Friday last week, Golden State responded with a wire-to-wire victory with leads as large as 26 points


Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, second right, shoots over New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, second left, in Game 4 of their NBA playoff series in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Sunday.

Photo: Derick E. Hingle-USA Today

Kevin Durant made his approach to taking over a pivotal NBA playoff game sound so simple — and look that way, too.

“I just try to tell myself that I’m at my best when I don’t care what happens after the game, the outcome or anything,” Durant said. “That’s when I’m free and having fun out there, and forceful. That was [the] thing — just try to play with force no matter if I missed shots or not, just keep shooting, keep being aggressive.”

Durant on Sunday scored Golden State’s first two baskets on pull-up jumpers of 21 and 15 feet before a minute and a half had elapsed in Game 4 of the Warriors’ Western Conference semi-final series against New Orleans.

He finished with 38 points on 15-of-27 shooting to go with nine rebounds as Golden State soundly defeated the Pelicans 118-92 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead back to the west coast.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry said it was apparent early that getting the ball to Durant would be wise.

“Just find ways to get him in scoring positions,” Curry said. “Sometimes, that’s not really hard to do — just throw it to him. Just keep the game simple at that point because he’s such a great scorer, you don’t have to really overthink things.”

The Warriors lost by 19 in Game 3 on Friday last week and the Pelicans were looking to even the series. Instead, the Warriors responded with a resounding effort that produced a wire-to-wire win with leads as large as 26 points.

Curry scored 23, Klay Thompson added 13 and Quinn Cook, who was a Pelicans reserve earlier this season, contributed 12 points.

Anthony Davis had 26 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans, but the Pelicans hit only 36 percent (32 of 88) of their shots, missing 22 of 26 three-point attempts.

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Golden State’s defense “had a lot to do with” the Pelicans’ poor shooting.

“We didn’t have the looks we normally have,” Gentry said. “We pressed a little bit when we got behind.”

E’Twaun Moore scored 20 and Jrue Holiday 19, but New Orleans reserves combined for just 14 points after scoring 32 two nights earlier.

Rajon Rondo finished with 11 rebounds, but had only six assists after racking up 21 in Game 3.

The Pelicans also committed 19 turnovers, which led to 21 Warriors points.

“We missed a lot of easy shots, a couple game-plan discipline mistakes early on and they came out on fire,” Davis said. “We just can’t afford to shoot that poorly, but we’ve got another one. Any time we’ve been punched in the mouth, we’ve always responded very well.”

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