OAKLAND — Standing feet from the Golden State Warriors’ bench, Kevin Durant launched a three-pointer as the clock expired on the first half on Saturday night. As his shot went down, Durant turned to the crowd, slapped his chest and snarled.
On a night when the team was playing without Draymond Green, the other three members of the big four carried the Warriors past the Minnesota Timberwolves, 115-102.
“It wasn’t as loud obviously,” Klay Thompson said. “Collectively we had to raise our voices to make up for it.”
No one raised his voice more than Durant, who became the first player in franchise history with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five blocks.
“I didn’t say anything else about, ‘You’ve got to do this or that,’” head coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s just a basketball player. He knows the game. He knows what’s going on and what is needed from him. I thought he was spectacular.”
Durant poured in 18 of his 28 points in the first half, while Steph Curry used a 17-point third quarter — including a trio of three-pointers — to all but bury the Wolves.
“Steph went nuts and did his thing,” Kerr said.
Curry finished with 34 and Thompson added 23 points of his own, as the triumvirate combined to score 85 points.
While the Warriors didn’t dismantle the Wolves, the win marked the ninth time during their current 11-game win streak that they’ve won by double digits. During that stretch, Golden State’s average margin of victory is 19.1 points.
With Green resting his left ankle, Kerr gave Kevon Looney the start at power forward as he sought an answer for Wolves’ seven-footer Karl-Anthony Towns.
Looney started alongside center Zaza Pachulia, while David West, Javale McGee and even Anderson Varejao saw time on the floor as part of the big-man shuffle.
“He’s just a guy who has a good feel for the game,” Kerr said of Looney. “He’s a good rebounder. He understands NBA defense. He stays high with his hands [and] he doesn’t bit on pump fakes. He just does a good, solid job out there. I thought he was great.”
In his 24 minutes of play, Pachulia grabbed four rebounds while leading the team in plus-minus at +14. McGee once again flashed promise off the bench, scoring eight points and collecting five rebounds in 11 minutes on the court.
“In the last two weeks, he doesn’t know when he’s going to come in — when his minutes are going to come,” Curry said of McGee. “But as soon as he steps on the floor, he makes an instant impact and you can feel it.”