OAKLAND — Late in the first quarter on Saturday night, after Joel Embiid had aggressively fouled Kevin Durant on a dunk attempt, the reigning Finals MVP wandered back toward the Philadelphia 76ers 7-foot phenom to speak his mind.
The pair of big men both drew technicals and Durant found the jolt he was looking for.
“He talks a lot of shit,” Durant explained after the 135-114 win, the Golden State Warriors sixth in as many games.
“So I needed some energy,” Durant continued. “So I knew if I threw a couple words at him, he would hype me up. So, it was fun.”
In the lopsided win, Durant poured in 29 points in only three quarters of work as the Warriors barreled past the 76ers on Saturday night at Oracle Arena.
As has become custom, Golden State bolted ahead in the third quarter, dropping 36 points on the 76ers and pushing the lead to 16.
By that point, Stephen Curry, who rested for the entirety of the fourth, was plus-29, scoring 22 points, handing out nine assists and grabbing four rebounds.
Klay Thompson, who sank four of six triples, totaled 23 points, while Draymond Green crowded the box score. Green finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, five blocks and two steals.
“He’s a guy everybody wants on their team,” Durant said of the club’s defensive general and offensive facilitator.
After a fast-paced opening half, the Warriors had gone into the break holding a 65-64 advantage. The game wouldn’t have been nearly as close if not for the 13 turnovers, which lead to 16 points for the 76ers.
When Steve Kerr was asked if it’s okay that the Warriors seem to be second-half squad, the head coach cracked a joke.
“I’d like to be a first half team, too,” Kerr said with a smile. That’s the next step.”
Curry takes a knee
Just over a minute into the contest, Curry ran directly into Ben Simmons’ knee, leaving the two-time MVP with a bruised right thigh. After the game Curry said he expects to be sore on Sunday, but hopes to be alright.
Kevon with the block
The Warriors likely would have gone into the half trailing, if not for the defensive heroics of Kevon Looney. With the Warriors trailing 64-62 and just over 30 seconds left on the clock, Looney delivered an emphatic block of Simmons, setting up a Klay Thompson 3-pointer in transition.
“He’s not the most athletic guy,” Kerr said. “But’s he’s always in the right spot and a really, really bright player.”
Looney finished with three blocks and was plus-14 in 15 minutes.
After declining to shoot in five first-half minutes, Nick Young hit a trio of 3-pointers in the third quarter.
‘Trust the process’
Asked what stage of the development process the 76ers are at, Kerr couldn’t help himself.
“Well, the main thing is they just have to trust the process,” Kerr cracked.
McAdoo gets his ring
Just before tipoff, with assistant Ron Adams serving as the emcee, former Warrior James Michael McAdoo received his championship ring during a midcourt ceremony.
The 76ers had called up McAdoo, who’d spent the season in the G-League, just for the occasion.
“I thought it was a great gesture by the Sixers making sure he’s here tonight,” Kerr said.