OAKLAND — Playing without sixty percent of the starting five, the Golden State Warriors weathered a fourth-quarter rally by the Portland Trail Blazers to win 111-104 on Monday night at Oracle Arena.
Western Conference Player of the Week Kevin Durant dropped 28 points on the Blazers, while adding eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
The Warriors bolted ahead of their guests in the third quarter, pushing the lead to as much as 24 points, on the way to a 93-75 advantage heading into the final period.
That’s when things got unexpectedly close for the Dubs.
“My mindset was just keep being me,” Durant explained of the tumultuous fourth. “Keep playing hard, shooting good shots and being calm out there. And we started to pull away there at the end.”
The Blazers opened the quarter on an 11-4 run, forcing head coach Steve Kerr to call a timeout with Portland trailing 97-86 at the 7:33 mark. The Blazers got as close as eight — 106-98 — with 3:44 left on the clock, but a pair of triples from Klay Thompson helped preserve the cushiony advantage.
“It’s a thing of beauty when you see Klay Thompson wide open in the corner,” Durant said. “You don’t even have to worry about even looking at the shot. It feels like it’s going in every time.”
The pair of clutch 3-pointers gave Thompson 24 points on the night.
After a lackadaisical showing in the first quarter, the Warriors found their stride in the second, carrying a 59-47 lead into the break.
Durant was the high-point man with 17 and also the defensive focal point, recording a pair of blocks. The second rejection punctuated the half as Durant sent a CJ McCollum floater spinning into the air just before the buzzer went off.
Nick Young provided the Warriors with an immediate offensive boost off the bench, hitting his first five shots — including a pair of triples — and pouring in all 12 of his points in the first half. Young exited the game in the third quarter quarter with an injury. The team later announced that he has entered the league’s concussion protocol.
Bell and Livingston get the nod
With Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle), Draymond Green (right shoulder soreness) and Zaza Pachulia (left shoulder soreness) out, Shaun Livingston, Omri Casspi and Jordan Bell all drew starts.
Casspi nearly produced a double-double going for 11 points and nine rebounds, while Bell’s highlight moment was a chasedown block of Damian Lillard early in the third quarter.
Andre Iguodala’s 20-minute stint against the Blazers marked regular-game No. 1,000 for the veteran forward and two-time NBA champ. Iguodala was plus-16, tied for the game high.
‘Everything’s gone smoothly’
Kerr provided a promising report on Stephen Curry during his pregame press conference. Curry, who’s rehabbing a sprained right ankle, was spotted riding an exercise bike during Monday morning’s shootaround.
“I think he’s coming along well,” Kerr said. “I didn’t ask [head performance therapist] Chelsea [Lane] like, ‘Is he a day ahead of schedule?’ Or anything like that. He’s just coming along well. Everything’s gone smoothly.”
‘Love me or hate me, I did it my way’
Matt Barnes, a member of both the “We Believe Warriors” and the 2017 NBA championship-winning team, officially announced his retirement via Instagram on Monday. The 15-year vet hadn’t played since the Finals in the summer.