'Monster' cousins back with a bang

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson rising to block Indiana Pacers guard Tyreke Evans' attempt in their National Basketball Association game at the Oracle Arena on Thursday. Thompson finished with 18 points in Golden State's 112-89 win.
Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson rising to block Indiana Pacers guard Tyreke Evans' attempt in their National Basketball Association game at the Oracle Arena on Thursday. Thompson finished with 18 points in Golden State's 112-89 win.PHOTO: REUTERS

DeMarcus returns from injury to score 19pts and lead Warriors to 112-89 win over Pacers

OAKLAND • The Golden State Warriors did not succumb to the league-old adage that the most challenging task entails playing a home game following a long, gruelling trip.

The two-time defending National Basketball Association champions were playing at the Oracle Arena for the first time after completing four straight games on the road.

And they were certainly grateful for home comforts against the most obliging of opponents, swatting aside the Indiana Pacers 112-89 on Thursday.

The visitors came into the game on the back of three consecutive defeats on their travels and their road-weariness showed.

The Warriors, who had lost their previous home game to Phoenix, led by as many as 28 points before the end of the third quarter, and then coasted home for a fourth victory in five games.

After missing their last two games with a sore ankle, DeMarcus Cousins paced his team with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting along with 11 rebounds and four assists.

A SAD DAY

The Durant family extends our deepest condolences & prayers to Cliff's mother, siblings, family & friends. Our family was an extension of his & we shared wonderful memories. His transition is an incredible loss for all of us who loved him, he will be missed dearly.

WANDA DURANT, mother of Golden State Warriors star Kevin (above), on Twitter after the shooting death of "adopted son" Clifford Dixon on Thursday morning.

The Warriors' four other starters - Klay Thompson (18), Kevin Durant (15), Stephen Curry (15) and Draymond Green (10) - also cracked double figures, marking the fourth time this term the team's starting line-up had done so.

Coach Steve Kerr praised Cousins for his "fantastic" display at both ends of the court, telling Yahoo Sports: "He was physical, getting a lot of drives, drawing a lot of attention defensively, making great passes.

"We had 19 assists at half-time even though we weren't really clicking, but I thought some of that was just playing through and his aggressiveness."

Teammate Thompson agreed with Kerr's assessment, calling the All-Star forward "a monster" before firing a warning to the rest of the league that the Warriors were now "really locked in for these last regular-season games".

The All-Star guard told Yahoo Sports: "He made it look easy. Our defence is great, when we're able to get on transition, it's so much fun to be a part of.

"You don't want any slip-ups in the play-offs. We want to feel good about ourselves (going into the post-season)."

Kerr's players (49-22) have a 1/2 game lead over the Denver Nuggets (48-22) for the best record in the West.

Separately, Durant's "adopted brother" and close friend Clifford Dixon was shot and killed outside an Atlanta bar early on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

The 32-year-old, who was reportedly out celebrating his birthday, was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A suspect fled the scene on foot and no arrests have been made.

According to local daily, The Oklahoman, Durant's mother, Wanda, took Dixon into the family home when he was 16 years old.

Dixon was one of the friends Durant thanked during an emotional speech after being named the NBA Most Valuable Player for the 2013-14 season.

The All-Star forward was grateful to him for "keeping me every day".

DPA, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2019, with the headline ''Monster' cousins back with a bang'. Print Edition | Subscribe