Wed, May 16, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Durant’s 37 lead Warriors over Houston


Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors shoots over James Harden of the Houston Rockets, right, in their playoff game on Monday in Houston.

Photo: AFP

Kevin Durant continues to deliver in the post-season for the Golden State Warriors.

He scored 37 points on Monday to lead the Warriors to a 119-106 win in the long-awaited showdown with the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

However, if it were up to him, he would have done even more.

Durant was not happy with coach Steve Kerr when he took him out late in the third quarter and loudly asked his coach why he was putting him on the bench. Durant, who played just more than 40 minutes, was asked if he would prefer to play the entire 48 minutes.

“Probably so,” Durant said.

Kerr said that he should have left him in at that point and raved about his performance after his fourth 30-point game this post-season.

“This is why anybody would want him on their team... I don’t know what you do to guard him,” Kerr said. “He can get any shot he wants.”

Starting a playoff series on the road for the first time since 2014, the Warriors trailed by as many as nine early, but evened it up by halftime and used a big run at the beginning of the fourth to pull away.

“We’re in the Western Conference Finals they are going to come out with a lot of energy,” Durant said. “We’re going to take that first punch and keep punching.”

Game 2 is tonight in Houston.

Eric Gordon opened the final period with a three-pointer to get the top-seeded Rockets within four, but Thompson scored the first eight points of a 13-4 run to make it 100-87 with about eight minutes left.

Houston used a 9-3 spurt, where James Harden scored five, to cut the lead to 103-96 with less than five minutes to go, but Thompson struck again, hitting a wide-open three to leave the Warriors ahead by 10 with four minutes left.

Harden scored 41 to lead the Rockets, who lost at home for the second time this post-season.

“You’re not going to come in and just knock them out,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said. “There were too many times where we had mental lapses. We didn’t switch properly, turned the ball over and missed too many layups. We need to do a better job of staying up mentally.”

Now the Rockets are left to regroup after losing their leg-up in the homecourt advantage they worked all season for.

“It’s nice to have home court, [but] we don’t have it. Now we’ve got to go get it,” D’Antoni said.

Steph Curry added 18 for the Warriors, who are in the conference finals for a franchise-record fourth straight time. It is Houston’s first trip since 2015, when Golden State won the series in five games.

“I think he’s going to get even better as the series goes on, which is good for us,” Kerr said of Curry.

“He’s one of the best scorers ever,” D’Antoni said of Durant. “I thought he was extremely good, but we can withstand that. We can’t withstand turning the ball over and giving up so many wide-open threes.”

“Houston, they never stop,” Durant said. “They are always in the game with three-point shots. We try to get good shots every time down and defend on the other end.”

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