LOS ANGELES (REUTERS, AFP) -Kevin Durant matched the most points scored in the first half of an NBA play-off game, leading the visiting Golden State Warriors to a series-clinching 129-110 win against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 of their Western Conference first-round match-up on Friday night (April 26).
Durant scored 38 of his play-off career-high 50 points in the first half, matching the record of Charles Barkley, who scored 38 of his 56 points in the opening half 25 years ago to help the Phoenix Suns finish off a first-round sweep of the Warriors.
Durant was at a loss to explain his masterful performance.
"I am just out there playing. I was so lost in the game I am not really thinking about anything else but winning possession. It is tough to explain. I am just in it," he said.
The Warriors advanced 4-2 to face the Houston Rockets in the second round beginning on Sunday in Oakland. Houston flew to the Bay Area on Friday in advance of the possible match-up.
The Rockets are going to be a whole new challenge, said Durant, adding: "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."
Draymond Green had 16 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, Stephen Curry scored 24 points and Andre Iguodala contributed 15 off the bench for the Warriors, who won three road play-off games in a series for first time in franchise history.
Golden State clamped down on Los Angeles reserves Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, who came in leading the team in scoring during the series at 24.4 and 20 points respectively. Williams scored eight points on 3-for-21 shooting, and Harrell was limited to 10 points.
Danilo Gallinari had 29 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 22 and Patrick Beverley finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists to lead Los Angeles.
The Warriors struggled early on, shooting 4-for-17 from the floor in the first five minutes while falling behind 18-8.
However, they made five straight baskets to pull within 23-21, and Curry hit Golden State's first three-pointer on their sixth try to take their first lead at 24-23 with 3min 55sec left in the first quarter.
After scoring 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting in the opening quarter, Durant scored Golden State's first 16 points of the second as the lead expanded to 51-42.
Durant's 29-foot three-pointer with 34.3sec left gave Golden State their biggest lead at 19 points, and the Warriors took a 72-53 lead into the break.
The Clippers got as close as 12 points early in the third quarter, but the Warriors pushed the lead back to 102-78 entering the fourth and kept the lead at double digits the rest of the way.