Kevin Durant knew the Warriors would have to earn it and play well in every way to end a frustrating funk that lasted more than a week.
Durant scored 32 points, Klay Thompson had 31 and Golden State snapped its worst losing streak since early 2013 at four games, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 125-97 on Friday night.
“I don’t believe in like, it’s just going to be over when it’s over. In the NBA, I don’t believe in fairytales and the emotions that come into this,” Durant said. “It’s not going to just be over unless we got out there and impose our will on the basketball court like we did tonight. And it’s not going to just happen for us tomorrow. We’ve got to play with that same passion and energy that we played with tonight.”
Durant was 13 of 21 from the field, dished out eight assists, had seven rebounds and three of his team’s 11 blocks. Thompson hit five of his first seven shots and grabbed a season-high eight boards for the undermanned two-time defending champions.
Two-time MVP Stephen Curry, in a car accident earlier in the day that left him uninjured, sat out again with a strained left groin and fellow All-Star Draymond Green also remained sidelined because of a sprained right toe.
Jusuf Nurkic had 22 points and eight rebounds for Portland on a night Damian Lillard shot just 9 of 24 for 23 points and eight assists. CJ McCollum added 19 points and five assists.
Golden State started the second with a 22-5 burst to build a 46-32 lead midway through the quarter. Durant’s driving dunk and three-point play 2:01 before halftime put his team up 59-40.
Coach Steve Kerr knew that once his team returned to better offensive execution — solid screens, sharp cuts, penetrating to the basket — it would lead to more open shots the Warriors hadn’t been getting during this recent funk.
The four-game skid was the longest under fifth-year coach Kerr and Golden State hadn’t lost more than that consecutively since dropping six straight from Feb. 5-19, 2013.
Quinn Cook, playing in Curry’s place, scored 19 points with five 3-pointers as the Warriors went 17 for 32 from deep. Shaking his head reading the stat sheet, Thompson said, “53 percent is a welcome sight after the week we had.”
“You saw in our energy tonight how much we wanted this win,” Thompson said.
Shaun Livingston scored 11 points and blocked a pair of shots in 16 minutes off the bench, while Jordan Bell contributed five points, seven assists and five rebounds. He has not played regularly this season.
Two of the top teams in the Western Conference were both coming off embarrassing defeats two days earlier: Golden State a 123-95 loss to Oklahoma City and Portland 143-100 at Milwaukee in which the Blazers never led.
The Warriors have won the last eight with the Blazers at home but had lost two straight overall.
“You lose that many games in a row and you’re a championship basketball team, obviously you’re going to be looking to turn that around,” Lillard said.
BY BABATUNDE UTHMAN