Warriors

Instant Replay: Warriors' Big Four goes off in battle with Suns

Instant Replay: Warriors' Big Four goes off in battle with Suns

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – On a night when defense was an afterthought, the Warriors turned to a tried-and-true offensive formula: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

And the two All-Star guards got plenty of scoring support from Kevin Durant.

Curry and Thompson scored 30 points each, while Durant poured in 29 to lift the Warriors to a 131-119 win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday at Oracle Arena.

Draymond Green added 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Warriors (8-2) used potent offense and solid rebounding (42-38 edge) to offset their lackluster defensive effort. The Suns (3-8), coming off a loss on Saturday in Phoenix, still managed to shoot 51.1 percent from the field. The Warriors shot 51.7 percent.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Curry did a lot of damage early, while Thompson came along later to bury the Suns.

Curry’s line: 30 points (9-of-17 shooting, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, 7-of-7 from the line), six assists, six rebounds and two steals. He played 37 minutes and finished plus-22.

Thompson’s line: 30 points (11-of-18, 5-of-8, 3-of-3) and two rebounds. He scored 14 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors pulled away. He played 33 minutes and finished plus-2.

TURNING POINT

For a full three quarters and into the fourth, each team responded to a run by the opponent with one of its own – until the Warriors got it going midway through the final quarter.

After Phoenix took a 111-106 lead on a pair of Brandon Knight free throws with 6:15 left, the Warriors came back with a 18-4 run, initiated by three free throws from Thompson. That provided a 124-115 lead with 2:39 remaining.

The Warriors closed the game on a 27-9 run as the Suns fell flat down the stretch.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: C Damian Jones (R pectoral surgery recovery) was listed as out and F/C James Michael McAdoo was a healthy inactive.

Suns: C Tyson Chandler (bereavement) rejoined the team but, along with F Derrick Jones Jr., was placed on the inactive list.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Wednesday in Toronto, where they face the Raptors at Air Canada Centre.

Dirk Nowitzki remembers one thing most about Game 6 loss to Warriors in 2007

Dirk Nowitzki remembers one thing most about Game 6 loss to Warriors in 2007

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Saturday afternoon at 4 P.T., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

May 3, 2017 is a special day in Golden State Warriors history.

The No. 8 seed Warriors knocked off the No. 1 seed Mavericks in Game 6 at Oracle Arena to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Dirk Nowitzki -- who was named MVP about two weeks later -- had one of the worst games of his career. He scored just eight points and went 2-for-13 from the field.

But it was something that took place off the court that stands out more than anything for Dirk when he thinks about that difficult day.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic has the details:

“Crazy atmosphere,” Dirk remembered. “Crazy. One of the loudest buildings I’ve been in. The fans were so in it, any run they had.”

What does Dirk remember most? The pregame tailgates.

“It doesn’t happen much in basketball,” Dirk said. “Happens more in football, when the fans cookout before. But that was the case when we drove up to the arena two-and-a-half hours, three hours before tip.

“Fans were out there flipping us off, mooning us on our way in. It was crazy. As a competitor, fun to play, but it kind of pushed them to another level. The fans were a big part of that.”

On Saturday night, Dirk will play at Oracle for the last time in his career.

The crowds might not be as consistently loud as they were during the "We Believe" run in 2007, but the man who has scored the sixth most points in NBA history has a lot of respect for the people who have filled up Oracle over the years.

[RELATEDSteph Curry will not play when Warriors host Luka Doncic, Mavericks]

“Oracle was always a fun place to play,” Nowitzki told The Athletic. “Even in the years early in my career, when the team wasn’t good, I thought the fans were always amazing there. Always great crowds. Always loud when they made runs. A great stop.

“They say the fans have changed a little bit. Because, yeah, obviously the ticket prices are a little higher than they used to be 20 years ago. But I didn’t really notice. It’s still super loud. Honestly, when Steph gets on one of his runs and starts shooting 3s from 35 feet, the place goes absolutely bonkers.”

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

LeBron James, Lakers officially eliminated from NBA playoff contention

lebronsadus.jpg
USATSI

LeBron James, Lakers officially eliminated from NBA playoff contention

From The Land to La La Land. The King hits Hollywood. All was supposed to be sunshine and palm trees for LeBron James and the Lakers. 

Narrator: It was not. 

The Lakers have officially been eliminated from the NBA playoffs after Friday's 110-106 loss to D'Angelo Russell and the Brooklyn Nets, officially ending James' run of eight straight NBA Finals appearances.

But that was in the Eastern Conference. The Wild West is a whole different ball game. 

And still, this Lakers team that surrounded James with players like Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and more, was supposed to challenge the Warriors.

Seriously? 

The Lakers' downfall started on Christmas Day, when LeBron injured his groin in a win against the Warriors. At that point, Los Angeles was 20-14 and seemed destined for the playoffs.

But James didn't return from his groin injury until Jan. 31, and the Lakers went 6-11 in his 17-game absence. Shortly after he returned, the Anthony Davis trade rumors appeared to distract the team ... and it was all downhill from there.

The last time James missed the playoffs was the 2004-05 season ... his second in the NBA, when he was only 20 years old. But now at 34, he finds himself in uncharted territory. 

[RELATED: Clyde Frazier criticizes LeBron James' distance from Lakers teammates]

All it takes is one offseason to turn things around, but the Lakers have a long ways to go if they're going to catch the Warriors. Or plenty of other teams ahead of them in the West.