LOS ANGELES • Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr started his basketball playing career in 1988, and began coaching in 2014.
But only on Friday night in Los Angeles did he claim that he has witnessed one of the truly great performances, coming from none other than his forward Kevin Durant.
The 30-year-old scored a play-off career high 50 points as the Warriors blasted their way into the second round of the National Basketball Association play-offs by clobbering the Clippers 129-110.
Durant made history by equalling the most points scored in the first half of a play-off game, with 38 of his 50 coming in the opening half.
He tied former Phoenix Suns star Charles Barkley, who scored 38 of his 56 points in the first half of a series-clinching win over Golden State 25 years ago.
"I've seen some good ones, been around some decent players," said Kerr. "And that was one of the great performances I've ever seen in my life.
"He just carried us these last couple of games of the series. He's the ultimate weapon because there's no defence for Kevin.
"No matter what anybody does, he can get a good shot. And he knew we needed him badly, and he just took over the game in the first half and set a great tone."
The Warriors, who clinched the first-round series 4-2, advance to face the Houston Rockets, beginning today in Oakland.
Durant warned that the Rockets are going to be a whole new challenge.
"They are a talented ball club with a lot of high-IQ players that shoot well and penetrate well, so we got our work cut out for us," he said.
Stephen Curry had 24 points while Draymond Green scored 16 points for the Warriors, who won three road play-off games in the same series for first time in franchise history.
Golden State put the brakes on Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. The pair came in leading Los Angeles in scoring during the series at 24.4 and 20 points respectively.
Williams scored eight points on a horrific three-for-21 shooting, and Harrell was limited to just 10 points.
Williams described Durant as "a special player" who is unguardable when he is on his game.
"Sometimes you come across special people and there's nothing you can do," he said. "We tried everything. It didn't work... He's an all-round professional and he proved it."