Durant scores season-high 44 as Warriors edge Kings
By Agence France-Presse
Kevin Durant delivered a season-high 44 points as the Golden State Warriors needed a wild finish to hold off the Sacramento Kings 117-116 on Saturday night.
Two-time reigning NBA finals MVP Durant also had a season-high 16 free throws on 17 attempts for the Warriors, who won their second straight after snapping a four-game losing skid on Friday by beating Portland.
Klay Thompson got the winning basket with a put back of his own miss with five seconds remaining in the fourth.
“I don’t know if I got fouled, but who cares I got the putback,” Thompson said. “You’ll take a game-winner any way you can get it I don’t care how ugly it is.”
The Kings made the Warriors work for the victory as De’Aaron Fox made two free throws with 26 seconds remaining to put Sacramento ahead after Thompson missed a 33-footer moments earlier.
Durant converted two free throws with 1:27 left and also had 13 rebounds and seven assists, while Thompson wound up with 31 points.
Thompson shot 12 of 26 with five three-pointers as Stephen Curry missed his ninth straight game because of a strained left groin.
Curry, the two-time MVP, was re-examined Saturday and is expected to resume practising next week with a good chance he would return to game action during an upcoming five-game road trip.
“He’s doing much better and we’re just going to keep taking it day by day,” Kerr said.
– Timberwolves beat Bulls –
Meanwhile, Karl-Anthony Towns had 35 points and 22 rebounds, Derrick Rose came off the bench to score 22 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Chicago Bulls 111-96.
Jeff Teague added 18 points for Minnesota, which pulled away late to win for the fifth time in seven games since trading Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia.
Both the Timberwolves and Bulls were playing the second game of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights.
“We want to make the right plays, play to each other’s strengths, cover up each other’s weaknesses and play tough,” Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said.
“On the nights in which you don’t shoot well, hopefully your rebounding and your defense can carry you through.”
Zach LaVine scored 28 points and Jabari Parker had 27 as the Bulls lost for the sixth time in seven contests. Both players have reached 20 points in the past three games.
Justin Holiday had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls.
In Cleveland, rookie Collin Sexton scored a season-high 29 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame 40 points by Houston’s James Harden to defeat the Rockets 117-108.