Durant's 44pts help Warriors pip Kings

OAKLAND (California) • The last two weeks had been nothing but doom and gloom for the Golden State Warriors, with the bust-up between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green making headlines as the National Basketball Association champions stumbled to a four-game losing skid.

But there were signs that the worst was over after the Warriors hammered the Portland Trail Blazers to end their worst run under coach Steve Kerr on Friday and on Saturday, they continued to show their mettle.

Durant delivered a "monster" 44 points, his season high, in a wild finish at the Oracle Arena to hold off the Sacramento Kings 117-116.

The two-time reigning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player also had a season-high 16 free throws on 17 attempts for the Warriors, who were unchanged from the team that had lined up against Portland.

The Kings, however, made the Warriors work hard for the victory, after De'Aaron Fox made two free throws with 26 seconds remaining to put Sacramento ahead.

It had looked as though Klay Thompson's missed three-pointer moments earlier might have proved costly, but an offensive rebound by Andre Iguodala led to Thompson making amends with the game-sealing lay-up.

Afterwards, the four-time All-Star, who wound up with 31 points and had five three-pointers, expressed his delight that he had the final say.

"You'll take a game winner any way you can get it, I don't care how ugly it is," the guard said.

And with Stephen Curry, who missed his ninth straight game because of a groin injury, on the verge of recovery, things are looking for more positive for the Warriors.

The five-time All-Star, who is still the team's leading scorer with 29.5 points per game despite his layoff, is expected to resume practice this week.

It also looks likely that he will return to the court before the end of a five-game road trip next week.

"He's doing much better and we're just going to keep taking it day by day," Kerr said.

Elsewhere, Karl-Anthony Towns had 35 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Chicago Bulls 111-96.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2018, with the headline 'Durant's 44pts help Warriors pip Kings'. Print Edition | Subscribe