Splash Brothers lead way for Warriors with Durant out hurt
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors missed Kevin Durant’s big presence on both ends of the court. They missed their snappy ball movement that leads to easy baskets and open 3-pointers.
The NBA’s best team won anyway thanks to the Splash Brothers and their supporting cast — and locked up another playoff berth in the process.
Stephen Curry scored 27 points while Durant missed his first game of the season with a hand injury, and the Warriors beat the Brooklyn Nets 112-95 on Saturday night to clinch a playoff spot for the fifth straight season.
“That’s pretty amazing, and I’m really proud of that, to be honest,” Klay Thompson said. “I got here my first year, we hadn’t been to the playoffs since ‘07. Before that I think it was ‘94. So to do it, what is it, five years in a row, can’t take that for granted. That’s an amazing feat, and hopefully we can do it until our careers are over.”
Thompson had 24 points. Curry converted a four-point play just before halftime to put his team up 62-51 at the break. The two-time reigning MVP had five 3-pointers and five assists.
This is just a first step for these star-studded, NBA-best Warriors (49-9): They want the No. 1 seed in the West. Oh, and a championship.
“There is only one focus, it’s winning a championship,” Curry said.
No celebration, but Curry spoke up because he remembers the years without a postseason.
“You never take for granted the situation we’re in, clinching a playoff spot so early,” he said.
Coach Steve Kerr might pick moments to rest his players during a daunting road trip coming up, yet Thompson wants to play.
“We want to lock up that No. 1 seed first,” he said.
Durant sat out with a bruised left hand. He injured his pinkie in the first quarter of a 123-113 win…