Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors wrap up perfect trip

By Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 9, 2017 at 9:51 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

DETROIT -- Kevin Durant continued to pick up the slack for another former MVP. That allowed the Golden State Warriors to complete their most successful road trip in franchise history.

Durant piled up a season-high 36 points -- one game after pouring in a then-season-best 35 -- to go with 10 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks and Golden State won its sixth straight game by downing the slumping Detroit Pistons 102-98 on Friday at Little Caesars Arena.

Durant came up a few assists shy of a second consecutive triple-double after also tallying 11 rebounds and 10 assists at Charlotte on Wednesday. Golden State was playing its second straight game without two-time MVP Stephen Curry, who will miss at least two weeks with a right ankle sprain.

"Nothing different. Just more opportunity," Durant said of the scoring surge. "Coach may call a couple more plays for me but he always keeps me involved. But now we obviously don't have our leading scorer on the floor, so we try to generate points in different ways."

The Warriors became the 11th team in league history to sweep a six-game road trip. The last team to achieve that feat was the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2008-09 season.

"That's a (heck) of a trip no matter what but particularly with Steph out the last two games," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Him being out probably helped us focus because we knew we had to play sharper in order to win. The game is different without Steph. It's more methodical and we have to play a little bit differently. We have to execute and we don't have him out there to go crazy and make seven straight threes and have us pull away."

Durant expressed similar feelings.

☑️☑️☑️☑️☑️☑️ ‪ 11 days. ‬ ‪6 games. ‬ ‪6 wins. ‬#DubNation ‬

A post shared by Golden State Warriors (@warriors) on

"Usually over a three-game road trip (or longer), that last game we're a little sluggish and ready to get home," he said. "We've been on the road for so long, guys are ready to get home but I liked our focus level to start the game. For 48 minutes, we were focused."

Klay Thompson supplied 21 points for the Warriors. Draymond Green, who missed their win at Charlotte with a sore shoulder, filled the stat sheet with six rebounds, 13 assists and a career high-tying six blocks despite scoring just two points. David West added 11 points off the bench and Shaun Livingston had 10.

The Warriors recorded a season-best 15 blocks.

"KD and Draymond were all over the place," Kerr said.

Avery Bradley's 25 points led the Pistons (14-11), who have lost five straight. Reggie Jackson contributed 16 points. Tobias Harris tossed in 11 points while Anthony Tolliver and Boban Marjanovic chipped in 10 apiece off the bench.

"You get five or six blocked, that's just great defense," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "You get 16 blocked against Milwaukee (on Wednesday), 15 blocked tonight, that's bad decision-making. It's not that anybody is trying to make bad decisions but we've just got to make better decisions."

The Pistons made just 40 percent of their two-point attempts, in large part because of Golden State's shot-blocking.

"It was a similar game today to the Milwaukee game," Bradley said. "Milwaukee had 16 blocks against us and they (the Warriors) played the same way. They are a great defensive team and you have to move the ball and attack those guys. We have to make plays for one another to be effective on the offensive end."

Durant scored 13 third-quarter points when Golden State took the lead for good. The Warriors were up by nine after Thompson made a 3-pointer with 2:56 remaining.

The Pistons hung around and when Bradley drilled a 3 after a Warriors turnover, bringing them within two at 100-98 with 22.7 seconds left.

Livingston missed two free throws, but Jackson then misfired on an off-balance shot in traffic.

Thompson hit two free throws with 5.3 seconds remaining to clinch it.

NOTES: Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy can't muster any sympathy for the Warriors playing without PG Stephen Curry. "They won a championship before Kevin Durant got there, so basically without Steph they have a world championship-caliber team with Kevin Durant instead of Stephen Curry," he said. ... Durant passed Bernard King for 45th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Durant has now scored 19,684 points. ... Golden State C Zaza Pachulia missed the game with left shoulder soreness. Reserve G Patrick McCaw was unavailable due to a concussion. ... Pistons PF Tobias Harris has scored in double digits every game this season. It's the longest streak from the start of a season by a Detroit player since Richard Hamilton had 55 consecutive double-digit games in 2006-07.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories