OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr reminded his Warriors that with everything they have gone through already, Golden State reached the season’s halfway point with 27 wins – so right on pace for 54. Klay Thompson is aiming higher.
”Who cares? We know how to play good basketball,” said Kevin Durant, who is most concerned with how prepared the Warriors are for playoff time.
Now, a major reinforcement looks to be joining the effort by month’s end: a healthy DeMarcus Cousins, one of the NBA’s best big men when at full strength.
Thompson scored 43 points with seven 3-pointers, Stephen Curry had his first double-double of the season with 14 points and a season-best 14 assists, and the Golden State Warriors snapped a rare three-game home losing streak by beating the cold-shooting New York Knicks 122-95 on Tuesday night.
Cousins said after the game he is targeting a game Jan. 18 at the Clippers for his return from left Achilles tendon surgery, his long-anticipated Warriors debut.
”We obviously want him coming back into a good vibe. That would be nice,” Curry said, ”and us feeling good about ourselves with a guy like DeMarcus Cousins back in the lineup, so that’ll be fun.”
Durant added 24 points, six rebounds and six assists while Draymond Green had 11 rebounds and 10 of his team’s 36 assists as the Warriors pulled away late in the first half to get back on a winning track at Oracle Arena.
Thompson hit 5 of his first 7 shots and had 12 points by the end of the first, finishing 18 of 29 from the floor – 7 for 16 from long range – and notching his second game with at least 40 points after going off for 52 at Chicago on Oct. 29.
Mario Hezonja scored 19 points for the Knicks, who shot 39.8 percent (35 of 88). Enes Kanter added 12 points and 16 rebounds.
”We grew some thick skin over this,” New York coach David Fizdale said. ”We took some lumps from some good teams.”
The Warriors ended the first half on a 13-0 run over the final 2:47 of the first half to turn a 49-48 deficit into a 61-49 lead at the break.
The skid at home matched the longest at Oracle Arena during Kerr’s five seasons as coach.
Curry chuckled recalling Thompson walking off the court offering, ”When’s the last time we blew somebody out, 2016?”
Golden State won its 10th straight against New York and fifth in a row at home, and this marked the Knicks’ final visit to Oracle Arena before the two-time defending champion Warriors move across the bay to new arena Chase Center starting next season.
Curry began 3 for 10 and finished just 5 of 19, 3 for 12 from deep, while Durant started 3 of 9 and missed his initial five 3-point tries.
Curry hit 10 3-pointers on the way to 42 points in Saturday’s 127-123 win at Sacramento, moving him into fourth place on the all-time 3-point list. He had three more Tuesday to reach 2,280, two shy of matching Jason Terry (2,282) for third all-time.
All-Star center Cousins’ progress has been encouraging in recent scrimmages enough that Kerr expects him back soon – perhaps even sooner than Jan. 18.
Cousins, who could give the Warriors five All-Star starters, has made strides in recent weeks with his conditioning.
”I think it’ll happen around that time. It’s not as simple as that’s the game. It’s somewhere in that neighborhood,” he said. ”… The last two scrimmages that he’s had it’s looked to us and it’s felt ot him that he has broken through a barrier, and we were waiting for that barrier.”
Before the game, Kerr said the Warriors were planning for Cousins.
”We have a decent idea how we’d like to use DeMarcus and in what rotations,” he said. ”It might not be as simple as ‘This looks good on paper.”’
Knicks: New York shot 6 of 24 on 3s and was outrebounded 49-39. … The Knicks haven’t beaten the Warriors since an 89-84 victory on March 30, 2014, also the last time New York won at Oracle Arena. New York lost 15 of its last 17 overall in Oakland. … G Frank Ntilikina missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle, while C Mitchell Robinson sat out his 11th consecutive contest with a sprained left ankle.
Warriors: Thompson had his 12th career 40-point game. … Durant’s two blocks gave him 900 for his career. He also scored 20 or more points in his 14th straight game. … Shaun Livingston, who needs one game for 800 in his career, sat out with soreness in his left knee. … Golden State won 128-100 at New York on Oct. 26 and swept the two regular-season games with the Knicks for a fifth straight season. During that span starting in 2014-15, Golden State also is unbeaten against two other Eastern Conference opponents: Orlando (9-0) and Philadelphia (8-0).
Knicks: Host Indiana on Friday having lost the two previous meetings this season.
Warriors: Host Chicago on Friday having won the last three matchups overall and three straight in the series at home. After that, Golden State is on the road 15 of the next 16 days.
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