Warriors

Instant Replay: Durant scores 29, Warriors finish with 67 wins

Instant Replay: Durant scores 29, Warriors finish with 67 wins

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The Warriors closed the regular season precisely as they would have wished Wednesday night, posting a 109-94 victory over the Lakers with Kevin Durant in a starring role.

Moving gracefully and with considerable force in his third game back after recovering from a knee injury, Durant scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Warriors (67-15), who closed the season by winning 15 of 16 games.

With 207 wins over the past three seasons, the Warriors hold the record for the most victories by any team over a three-season span.

Stephen Curry tallied 20 points, falling 1 point short of 2,000 for the season. Pat McCaw tossed in 13 points, while Klay Thompson added 12 and JaVale McGee 11 before the 230th consecutive sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

With Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala resting, the Warriors played all 11 available players on the roster. All 11 entered the scoring column.

All five Los Angeles starters reached double figures, with Jordan Clarkson’s 17 points taking team honors. The Lakers, who entered with a five-game win streak, finish the season at 26-56.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Durant used his third and final pre-postseason tune-up to make an emphatic statement: He’s ready to roll.

Durant’s line: 29 points (11-of-16 shooting from the field, 5-of-7 beyond the arc, 2-of-4 from the line), eight rebounds, five assists, one block and one steal. He played 27 minutes and was plus-28.

TURNING POINT

The Warriors established control early in the game, taking leads of 11 (21-10, 7:09 left in the first quarter) and 19 (35-16, 3:04 left in the quarter).

The Lakers pulled within eight (47-39) with 8:06 left in the half but got no closer than 12 in the second half.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Matt Barnes (R ankle/foot sprain), F Draymond Green (rest), F Andre Iguodala (rest) and F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) were listed as out.

Lakers: F Brandon Ingram (R patellar tendinitis) was listed as probable and upgraded to available. G D’Angelo Russell (personal) and C Ivica Zubac (R high ankle sprain) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Sunday at Oracle Arena, where they play host to the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.

Warriors vs. Clippers watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

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USATSI

Warriors vs. Clippers watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

LOS ANGELES – Somewhere behind the tsunami of conversation and debate devoted to DeMarcus Cousins making his return to the NBA on Friday, the Warriors and Clippers will play a basketball game.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30 with Warriors Pregame, with tipoff at Staples Center scheduled for 7:30.

Though Cousins’ Warriors debut will be the focal point of every fan around the globe, the team has a compelling bit of business at hand.

They’re trying to extend a six-game win streak against a team they no longer dominate.

The Warriors (31-14) had beaten the Clippers 12 consecutive times before taking a 19-point loss at Oracle Arena last January. The teams have split their last four games, including the first two this season: a Clippers 121-116 overtime win on Nov. 12 in LA and the Warriors taking a 129-127 victory on Dec. 23 in Oakland.

The Clippers (24-20) remade their roster over the last two summers and had been better than projected before losing their last four games. They own the seventh-best record in the Western Conference and 12th best in the league.

This is the Warriors’ first trip to Staples since the highly publicized squabble between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green on Nov. 12.

 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors F – Kevin Durant F – Draymond Green C – DeMarcus Cousins G – Klay Thompson G – Stephen Curry

Clippers F – Danilo Gallinari F – Tobias Harris C – Marcin Gortat G – Avery Bradley G – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

 

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: C Damian Jones (L pectoral surgery) is listed as out.

Clippers: F Luc Mbah a Moute (L knee soreness) is listed as out.

 

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: Though Cousins will start, he’s not likely to play more than five consecutive minutes, which leaves the possibility of limited action in each quarter. The remaining minutes are expected to go to Kevon Looney and Draymond Green. Jordan Bell, already on the fringe of the rotation, is the odd man out.. . . Curry (42) and Durant (35) combined for 77 points in the last meeting between the teams.. . . Backup PG Shaun Livingston has been effective since returning after a brief absence with knee soreness, shooting 10-of-15 from the field over his last four games. He had a season-high 13 points against the Pelicans on Wednesday.

Clippers: G Lou Williams is the most dangerous bench scorer in the league. He’s averaging 18.7 ppg, tops among all reserves. He’s averaging 22.5 ppg over his last 12 games.. . . Backup C/F Montrezl Harrell has been so effective he consistently plays more minutes than Gortat. His 11 double-doubles lead all reserves.. . . Williams and Harrell are the primary reasons the Clippers lead the NBA in bench scoring (52.6 ppg). The Warriors are 28th (30.2).. . . Yes, G Patrick Beverley remains a Clipper and will get minutes, if only to annoy Curry. It’s fair to say they have a longstanding adversarial relationship.

Officials: Eric Lewis (chief), Gediminas Petraitis, Brandon Adair

Draymond Green's agent reveals his one main wish for DeMarcus Cousins

Draymond Green's agent reveals his one main wish for DeMarcus Cousins

Programming note: Watch DeMarcus Cousins’ warm-up Friday before his Warriors debut live on the MyTeams app at 5:50 p.m. PT, with analysis from Greg Papa, Garry St. Jean and Kelenna Azubuike. Download MyTeams on Google Play and the App Store.

Draymond Green might be more excited for DeMarcus Cousins' return than DeMarcus Cousins is for DeMarcus Cousins' return (that makes sense, right?).

Draymond's agent, B.J. Armstrong, is also very happy that Boogie will be back in action tonight vs the Clippers. He loves Cousins' game and is a big fan.

But Armstrong is hoping Cousins' time with the Warriors isn't just defined by points, rebounds and assists.

"The one thing that I'm really wishing for him is not to be a good teammate, but to be a great teammate," Armstrong said recently on The Pure Hoops Podcast. "It's really important as a player, it's really important for your relationships that you have.

"When it's all said and done as a player, you'll remember these moments. This is a significant moment for him."

Yes, it is.

Cousins is hoping for a big payday this summer in free agency, and obviously a lot of that will depend on how he performs the next few months and how his Achilles responds.

But the rest of the league will be paying very close attention to how he impacts the Warriors chemistry, his standing in the locker room and how he handles somewhat of a lesser role on the court.

The good news for the four-time All-Star is that his teammates have his back 100 percent.

"We'll do everything in our power to make sure he succeeds," Andre Iguodala told reporters after Golden State's win on Wednesday night. "That's everybody in the locker room. That's really our focus."

That support is key and Cousins will rely on it at various points throughout his comeback. It's also important that the help is reciprocated. 

[RELATEDHow DeMarcus Cousins will help Warriors in these three specific areas]

"I just hope he understands the importance of being a great teammate -- not a good teammate -- a great teammate," Armstrong reiterated. "Because that is the most important thing. You walk away from the game -- every player -- hopefully you walk away with some friends you made over the years.

"I just hope Boogie experiences one of the joys of this league -- is to become a great teammate ... his teammates are so excited for him ... I just hope that Boogie appreciates that because he has some great teammates right now.

"This is a priceless moment for him and a very key moment in his career."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller