Durant returns to court after missing a game, leads Warriors
Updated 12:09 am, Sunday, November 12, 2017
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nah, that slow start didn't last long for the defending NBA champions.
Draymond Green knew they'd be just fine.
"We know what we're capable of," he said, "we just needed to lock in and focus."
And Golden State is getting better by the game — balanced, getting better on both ends, doing all the little things that were discussed all summer.
Kevin Durant returned from missing one game with a leg injury to finish with 29 points, leading the Warriors past the Philadelphia 76ers 135-114 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.
Green did his usual thing: 10 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, five blocks and two steals. Stephen Curry took a knee to his right quad muscle — similar to what Durant dealt with — but added 22 points and nine assists to surpass the 4,000-assist mark for his career and Klay Thompson scored 23 as the Warriors pulled away in the second half.
"It's been great to have so many guys contribute so many guys contribute in different ways," Green said. "That's what we've talked about early on was our depth and guys have stepped up."
Durant sat out Wednesday's win against the Timberwolves with a bruised left thigh but hardly showed any signs of an issue. Curry, sporting new twisties in his hair, briefly went to the locker room early in the second but returned.
JJ Redick scored 17 points to lead the Sixers, who hung around for a half.
"You realize that there is zero margin of error," coach Brett Brown said. "There is so much firepower on that team."
The Warriors have won by 17 or more points in each game of this winning streak, averaging 122.8 points.
Golden State built its first double-digit lead of the night at 86-76 on Nick Young's 3-pointer with 4:14 left in the third, and rolled from there getting another quick 3 by Young, one from Curry and a Durant jumper.
The Warriors won their ninth straight against the Sixers and sixth in a row at Oracle Arena.
76ers two-way player James Michael McAdoo received his Warriors championship ring in a pregame ceremony. He was cheered when he checked in for the first time midway through the fourth.
Coach Steve Kerr texted with him leading up to the game.
"I'm thrilled that he was here, and I thought it was a great gesture by the Sixers to make sure he was here," Kerr said. "I know he'll get a huge ovation from the crowd tonight, he deserves it."
Curry made clear "I care about our veterans deeply" in a piece he wrote for The Players' Tribune that published Saturday for Veterans Day expressing his support for the troops and explaining his stance — even if he didn't want to visit the Trump White House.
The two-time MVP said: "... When someone tells me that my stances, or athlete stances in general, are 'disrespecting the military' — which has become a popular thing to accuse peaceful protesters of — it's something that I'm going to take very, very seriously. One of the beliefs that I hold most dear is how proud I am to be an American — and how incredibly thankful I am for our troops. I know how fortunate I am to live in this country, and to do what I do for a living, and to raise my daughters in peace and prosperity. But I also hear from plenty of people who don't have it nearly as good as I do. Plenty of people who are genuinely struggling in this country. Especially our veterans.
"And every single veteran I've spoken to, they've all said pretty much the exact same thing: That this conversation we've started to have in the world of sports ... whether it's been Colin (Kaepernick) kneeling, or entire NFL teams finding their own ways to show unity, or me saying that I didn't want to go to the White House — it's the opposite of disrespectful to them."
Kerr applauded his superstar again.
"I thought it was beautiful," Kerr said. "He's very thoughtful, he's very compassionate, very smart and he's humble. I've made the comment before that he is incredibly arrogant on the floor and humble off the court. I think that's a really powerful combination. ... When he speaks it's from the heart."
76ers: The Sixers forced Golden State into eight first-quarter turnovers. ... Philadelphia shot 51.9 percent in the first half to stay within 65-64 at the break.
Warriors: Andre Iguodala, who started in Durant's place Wednesday, was out for rest. ... Curry moved into a tie with Guy Rodgers for 10th place on the franchise list for all-time games played at 587. These two are the only Warriors to reach 4,000 assists, Rodgers with 4,855. ... The Warriors blocked 11 shots, their 12th time in 13 games with at least seven blocks.
76ers: At the Clippers on Monday.
Warriors: Host Orlando on Monday night seeking a ninth straight victory vs. Magic and fifth consecutive at home.
More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball