Kevin Durant leads the Warriors to their first win of the year, beat the Pelicans

by Jerry Feitelberg

AP photo: Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant goes for the high percentage points as the Dubs chalk up their first win of 2016-17 against the New Orleans Pelicans Friday night

New Orleans-The Golden State Warriors, led by the stellar play of Kevin Durant, subdued the New Orleans Pelicans 122-114 Friday night in New Orleans. The Dubs, although they led most of the way, could not break away from the Pelicans. The Dubs, however, had an answer for every challenge thrown at them by the Pelicans. Golden State took an early 7-6 lead and kept it until late in the third period when the Pelicans led by a single point 74-73. The Warriors went on a 19-7 run to finish third period leading 92-81. The Pelicans refused to quit. Golden State led by sixteen 103-87 but Anthony Davis and company continued to peck away and closed the gap to six with just 19.4 seconds left in the game.

The Warriors did not play well in the opening game against San Antonio. They were looking to get the offense going behind the Big Three of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Steph Curry. They also wanted improvement on defense, especially rebounding. They did improve in both those categories but still need to be better.

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson led the Dubs to a 59-50 halftime advantage. Durant scored eighteen and had ten rebounds. Klay Thompson found his shot and knocked down fourteen. Steph Curry, saddled with three personal fouls, added six. Steph picked up the pace in the third period. He drained a couple of three-point shots and had a bucket and a free throw to complete a three-point play the hard way. Kevon Looney entered the game slightly after the mid-point mark of the period and was very effective as the Dubs closed out the period on a 19-7 run. Kevin Durant continued to amaze everyone as he blocked an Anthony Davis shot and the ran the court to make a spectacular dunk. The Dubs worked hard for the win. The biggest lead of the night was sixteen points, and they had to work hard on the defensive end to stop the Pelicans from overtaking them. Golden State wins a tough contest 122-114.

Game Notes. Kevin Durant had a double, double in the game. He scored thirty points and had seventeen rebounds.  Durant has now scored at least twenty points in sixty-six consecutive games. It is the longest streak since Michael Jordan’s sixty-nine in the 1990-91 season. Klay Thompson added twenty-eight, and Steph Curry finished with twenty-three. Za Za Pachulia had a double, double, too. Pachulia scored ten and had eleven rebounds. Draymond Green finished with eight points, and he recorded eleven rebounds, too. The Pelican bench outscored the Warrior bench 39-23.  The good news for Warrior fans was the play of Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingstone. They made several key buckets and the second unit played much better than they did against San Antonio. The one sour note was the injury to Patrick McCaw late in the first half. McCaw sprained his left ankle and was helped off the court. The Dubs do not know the extent of the injury at this time.

Anthony Davis led the New Orleans attack with forty-five points and seventeen rebounds. He had ninety-five points in his first two games of the year. New Orleans lost both. Tim Frazier had a career-high twenty-one points to go along with ten assists and six rebounds.Lance Stephenson and Duane Cunningham each scored fifteen, coming off the bench.

After the game, Klay Thompson said: “it felt great to get the first win of the season.” , “I was just trying to be myself” when asked if he was too aggressive in the first half. He  said this about Kevin Durant: “he’s gonna be huge for us all year.”

Dubs’  head coach Steve Kerr was pleased the Dubs had just fourteen turnovers in the game. “We did a good job of taking care of the ball.He added that we had “lapses defensively and (that we have)some things to work on.” “We played hard, but we had some breakdowns when everyone just looked at each other.” It was “more lack of communication that led to the breakdown.” “We are going to get much better. You can see how much work we have ahead. We gotta be smart, tough, and grow.”

The Dubs travel to Phoenix to play the Suns Sunday. Game time is at 3:00 pm

 

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