Kevin Durant dominated till he was ejected in Warriors’ win

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Kevin Durant’s good night time on each ends bought minimize quick by an ejection.

Durant emphatically confirmed who remains to be No. 1 within the West, delivering a pair of jarring dunks late within the first half and ending with 21 factors and 6 assists earlier than being tossed to steer the Golden State Warriors previous the Denver Nuggets 116-99 on Tuesday night time in a matchup of the highest groups within the convention.

“The vitality within the crowd at that time was unimaginable. When he attacked like that and hammered these two dunks down you can really feel the facility within the area, you can really feel our residence crowd, you can really feel the vitality of our gamers,” coach Steve Kerr stated. “These two performs form of broke the sport open and gave us lots of life. I assumed Kevin was super tonight. It’s unlucky he didn’t get to play extra.”

DeMarcus Cousins had a season-best 28 factors, on 12-for-17 taking pictures, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and two blocks for the Warriors (53-24), who’ve a two-game lead and the tiebreaker on Denver (51-26) with 5 video games to go within the chase for the Western Convention’s high seed and home-court benefit all through the playoffs. Golden State misplaced out on the No. 1 spot to Houston final 12 months, however nonetheless went on to seize a repeat title.

Durant was ejected with 8:21 left within the third. He grew to become livid wanting a foul name when he airballed a 3-point shot over Paul Millsap, then pointed at and yelled towards official Zach Zarba. Cousins stood between Durant and Zarba, who wasted no time tossing the two-time reigning finals MVP.

“I assumed he deserved the primary technical I didn’t suppose he deserved the second. I used to be very shocked. I watched the entire thing. I didn’t suppose he deserved to be ejected,” Kerr stated. “I believe Zach Zarba’s the most effective officers within the recreation so I’ve bought no complaints with Zach, he is aware of what he’s doing.”

These had been his 14th and 15th technicals, which means he’s one away from an automated suspension. Cousins was ejected in opposition to Charlotte on Sunday, when the Warriors clinched their fifth straight Pacific Division crown.

“I believe we could be higher at maintaining our poise, myself included,” Kerr stated.

Earlier, Durant, Stephen Curry and Draymond Inexperienced had been fined different incidents the place they ripped the refereeing.

Earlier than that, Durant dazzled.

He rebounded Jamal Murray’s missed Three and drove the court docket, dribbling together with his left hand via the paint earlier than switching arms to ship a robust one-handed slam. Durant had one other second earlier than halftime, driving the baseline for a two-handed dunk because the Warriors grabbed a 59-43 halftime lead. He additionally had a pair of blocked photographs.

“Kevin attacking the rim bought the gang into it much more,” Klay Thompson stated. “That was unbelievable. Nobody was making an attempt to get in the way in which of that second dunk he had. That was ridiculous.”

Curry added 17 factors, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. His 3-pointer with 7:22 left gave him 5 or extra 3s in a career-best 9 straight video games and moved the two-time MVP (16,236) previous Chris Mullin (16,235) for fourth place on the Warriors all-time factors listing.

Murray scored 17 factors after he departed the Nuggets’ 95-90 residence loss Sunday to Washington within the third quarter with a sprained left ankle and didn’t return. Murray, who missed six video games from Jan. 26-Feb. Four with an harm to the identical ankle, was carefully monitored and performed almost 29 minutes.

Millsap had 11 factors taking pictures Four of 11 for Denver, which misplaced for the third time in 4 video games and performed the primary night time of a tricky back-to-back with San Antonio visiting the Mile Excessive Metropolis on Wednesday.

Coach Michael Malone didn’t like his group’s errors proper after Durant was tossed.

“Once you’re taking part in in opposition to a group that’s gained three of the final 4 world championships you possibly can’t beat your self and we did that tonight and that’s disappointing,” Malone stated.

Durant and Draymond Inexperienced had 4 assists apiece within the opening quarter as Cousins bought sizzling. The large man stole the ball from Nikola Jokic and took it coast-to-coast for a left-handed layup.

Denver jumped to a 20-16 lead earlier than Golden State’s 14-Four burst put the Warriors up 30-24 heading into the second. Denver by no means recovered.

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