By Rob Johnson
Special to S.F. Examiner
DALLAS — Trailing the Dallas Mavericks 108-113 with 2:46 left in the game, the Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant hit a baseline jumper pulling it 110-113. A few possessions later in the closing seconds with the game tied 114-114, Durant got the ball on the baseline again, but instead of shooting a shot he routinely makes, he immediately kicked it out to the hot-handed Stephen Curry for the dagger three-pointer.
The decision to give the ball to Curry was the plan before the play had even started. It was drawn up during a timeout, but not by head coach Steve Kerr. The play — which helped nail down a 119-114 win — was designed by Durant.
“Yeah KD did that quite a bit tonight,” said Kerr. “He knew Steph had it going and there were a couple plays that I called for Kevin and he said, ‘No no no, it’s going be the opposite way,’ and they just changed spots. Those guys always have a great feel for what’s happening on the floor … KD is just so unselfish. When he sees someone going, he’s going to try and get them the ball.”
Curry and Durant were scoring forces right from the tip. The two former NBA MVP’s accounted for all of the Warriors 25 first-quarter points. Curry finished with a game-high 48 points, and for the twelfth time in his career, recorded double-digit threes, going 11-for-19 from distance. He also added five rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal.
“Game in and game out, there have been situations where it is called for a little bit more aggressiveness and playmaking,” said Curry. “You just got to be ready for those moments. The last two or three weeks, I think our team has been purposeful about how we are creating shots, getting looks and sustaining it over 48 minutes.”
Durant chipped in 28 points on 10-for-21 shooting, while getting seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal. His last points of the game didn’t come on just any regular jumper, but on a one-knee-in-the-air jumper that he added t0 his game after watching Mavericks’ future Hall-of-Famer Dirk Nowitzki.
“The moment he decides to retire, so many people are going to shower him with love and praise that he deserves,” said Durant. “He’s a 21-year vet that has changed the game … someone that’s been a winner, a champion, 30,000 points, you name it.”
Dallas shot 16-of-38 from three, and shot 22-for-29 at the free throw line, while the Warriors went just 10 for 12 at the charity stripe. The Mavericks were led by rookie sensation Luka Doncic, who had a team-high 26 points and shot 5-for-10 from 3-point range.
“He’s unbelievable,” said Curry. “You can tell he is experienced in terms of playing high level basketball. He is a guy that is always at his own pace … He has made himself known, for sure. It is fun to watch in terms of the future of the league.”NBA