Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors slog past Miami Heat

By Eric Gilmore, The Sports Xchange  |  Nov. 7, 2017 at 10:07 AM
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors shot an ice-cold 36.8 percent from the field and posted a season-low point total but still found a way to beat the Miami Heat by 17 points on Monday night at Oracle Arena.

Kevin Durant scored 21 points, Draymond Green had a season-high 18 points and nine rebounds, and Golden State defeated Miami 97-80 in a defensive struggle.

The Warriors (8-3) won their fourth straight game and beat the Heat at Oracle for the fourth consecutive time.

"There's going to be games like that," Durant said. "This was a great, great test for us. This team, we have a lot of respect for them. Well-coached, play extremely hard, play really physical.

"I just feel like that's East Coast basketball. If we want to be a great team, we got to play different ways. We can score a lot of points, we can slow it down like we did tonight. We can play a physical game as well. Good test for us. I don't know if we'd have won this game last week or a couple weeks ago, but that's a sign of us moving in the right direction."

James Johnson had 21 points off the bench for Miami (4-6), and Goran Dragic scored 19.

"This game was kind of in our wheelhouse if you play more intensely," Dragic said. "You know, low-scoring game. You have a chance if you're playing on the road, if you're playing this kind of defense."

The Warriors came into the game averaging 120.7 points per game and shooting 52.6 percent from the field, both NBA bests. The Heat forced them out of their comfort zone. Stephen Curry had 16 points but made just 5 of 19 from the floor and 2 of 9 from long range.

"That's kind of a playoff-style win, where you grind it out, where nothing's easy," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "It's not like we were missing a ton of wide-open shots. They were contesting everything."

Miami center Hassan Whiteside, the NBA's reigning rebound king, had five boards and three points on 1-of-9 shooting in just 16 minutes of action.

"That's a coach's decision," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of having Whiteside on the bench for all but 1:13 in the second half. "That's really what it came down to. It's nothing bigger, more than that. This is one game. He understands how important he is to our team to play at a high level, high energy level."

The Heat controlled the tempo throughout most of the first half. With 3:57 left in the second quarter, the score was tied 34-34, but the Warriors finished the half with a 16-3 run to build a 50-37 lead.

"It's hard enough to guard them through all the actions and the playmaking and making all of the passes, getting them off the 3-point line, but when you give up so many (points) in transition ..." Spoelstra lamented. "We gave up some back-cuts, some easy run-outs to their centers."

Green, who had 13 points and seven rebounds in the first half, ignited the run with a tip-in and a 3-point basket, and then Klay Thompson hit a trey to give Golden State a 42-34 lead with 2:02 left.

Durant scored the Warriors' final eight points of the half, four of them from the free-throw line, giving him a team-high 14 before intermission. He went 10-for-10 from the line overall.

"We were struggling to shoot the ball, so at timeouts all the coaches were just emphasizing getting to the rim and trying to get some easy ones to get us going," Durant said. "I think at the end of that second quarter we kind of pulled away. That's what kind of got us the game, got us the lead."

Golden State pushed its margin to 60-40 early in the third quarter and led 75-57 entering the fourth.

Miami went on an 13-5 run, cutting the Warriors' advantage to 80-70 with 7:07 left. However, Durant drilled a 3-point shot, Green made two free throws, Andre Iguodala had a dunk and Curry hit a 3-pointer, increasing the Warriors' lead to 90-70 with 4:07 left.

Heat starting shooting guard Dion Waiters missed his second straight game. Waiters, who averages 15.9 points per game, returned to Miami for the Sunday birth of his daughter. He will rejoin the team Tuesday in Phoenix and return to the lineup Wednesday against the Suns.

NOTES: Warriors backup PF David West was inactive, a move intended to give the 15-year NBA veteran rest. "It's a routine that we're going to follow all year, whether it's Shaun (Livingston), Andre (Iguodala), David," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Some of the older guys will get the occasional night off." ... Miami G Tyler Johnson's streak of 22 straight made free throws to start the season ended with 3:20 left in the first quarter when he missed his first attempt. ... Heat G/F Rodney McGruder, who underwent surgery on Oct. 17 to repair a stress fracture in his left tibia, missed his 10th consecutive game.

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