The Warriors blow out the New Orleans Pelicans, Kevin Durant returns

April 8, 2017

Golden State Warriors, NBA

by Jerry Feitelberg

Oakland- The Golden State Warriors welcomed superstar Kevin Durant back into the lineup Saturday night against the New Orleans Pelicans. Steph Curry did not play, as he had a bone contusion suffered in the game against Phoenix last Wednesday in Phoenix. Shaun Livingston started in Steph’s spot, and the Warriors rolled over the undermanned Pelicans 123-101. The Pelicans’ DeMarcus Cousins was out with a sore Achilles tendon and is done for the season. The Pelicans other offensive star, Anthony Davis, was given the night off by head coach Alvin Gentry.

Durant, who hadn’t played since February 28th, made his presence felt as he scored the first bucket of the game. The Dubs, however, were a bit sluggish in the first quarter. The Pelicans, playing without their two best players, gave the Dubs a tussle and led 14-13 with 3:37 left in the period. Steve Kerr inserted Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee into the game, and they energized the Dubs into a 10-3 run to finish the quarter with a 23-17 lead. Andre channeled Steph as he hit a three-point shot at the buzzer.

The Pelicans trailed by twelve early in the second quarter but went on a 13-0 run to lead 34-31. The Dubs regained the lead behind the play of KD, Ian Clark, Shaun Livington, Draymond Green and finished the period on a 12-4 run to lead 54-46 at the half. Klay Thompson led the Dubs with 10, KD had 6, Draymond 8, and Andre Iguodala 8. Alexis Ajinca paced the Pelicans with 13, and Quinn Cook tallied 11 coming off the bench.

The Dubs blew the game wide open in the third quarter. They outscored the Pelicans 39-22, and they looked like the Warriors. They moved the ball and found the open man. Durant, who looked a bit rusty earlier in the game, found his rhythm and looked like the KD of old. He finished the night with a double-double. He did not, however, make a 3-pointer. Klay Thompson, just as Andre had done in the first period, hit a three-pointer to end the third period. The Warriors led 93-68 and were on their way to their 14th straight victory.

The Warrior offense didn’t slow done in the fourth quarter either.  Iguodala scored the first 3 buckets of the period. Ian Clark, Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston, and JaVale McGee all played well.  The Warriors win 123-101.

Game Notes and Stats- The one sour note in the game is that reserve forward Matt Barnes suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter. Barnes hobbled down to the locker room, and X-Rays were negative. There was no information available about his condition at this time.

The Warriors had 7 players in double figures. Klay led the team with 20 points, KD had a double-double as he tallied 16 points, 6 assists, and 10 rebounds. Draymond had 13, Shaun,14, Andre 15, McGee 16, and Ian Clark 17. The Dubs shot 51% from the floor and made 10 3-point shots. The Pelicans Quinn Cook scored 22, Jordan Crawford, also off the bench, knocked 21, Alexis Ajinca 17, and Jrue Holiday had a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists.

The Warriors outrebounded New Orleans 53-34. The Dubs had 36 assists and recorded 2 steals and 3 blocks.

The Warriors improve to 66-14 while the Pelicans fall to 33-47.

Before the game, Kevin Durant was asked how he felt about returning to action after missing 20 games. Durant said this “I felt normal. I’ve been waiting for that feeling for a couple of weeks now.” It took a while, but he did look like his old self in the second half. Welcome back, KD.

The Warriors resume play Monday night against the Utah Jazz. Steph Curry will be in the lineup. The Warriors will likely face the Portland Trailblazers in the first round of the playoffs. The Blazers magic number is one. Any combination of Blazer wins, or Denver losses will put the Blazers in the 8th seed.The Blazers own the tiebreaker.

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About rxslugger

Retired pharmacist who now has a career as a sports writer and broadcaster

View all posts by rxslugger

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