Kevin Durant played his first game since late February and the Warriors picked up their 14th straight win with a 123-101 victory over the Pelicans on Saturday night at Oracle Arena.
The winning streak becomes the longest in the NBA this season, and the Warriors used a dominant third quarter to get there. Playing without Stephen Curry, who sat out the game with a left knee contusion, the Dubs turned what was a two-point game late in the first half into a laugher with a 39-22 third quarter.
It was a balanced effort all the way around for the Dubs, who had 36 assists to just nine turnovers while shooting 51 percent from the floor. Seven Warriors players scored in double figures, led by Klay Thompson with 20. Ian Clark, JaVale McGee and Andre Iguodala all had stellar games off the bench, but the story of the game was Mr. Durant.
The perennial All-Star forward returned with a bang, throwing down a dunk on the Warriors’ first offensive possession of the game. Durant would finish the game with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and he was a game-high plus-22 in his 31 minutes on the floor.
When Durant needed a rest, the Warriors’ bench stepped up. Andre Iguodala was particularly springy and helped the Dubs get on track with six of his 15 points in the first quarter, including a jump shot off one foot at the end of the period.
Iguodala shot 7-for-10 from the field, but he was just one of the stars off the bench for the Warriors. Ian Clark tallied 17 points and JaVale McGee seemed to provide an endless supply of dunks during his 16-point effort on 8-of-10 shooting.
In total, the Warriors’ reserves had 58 points, and that doesn’t include Shaun Livingston’s brilliant performance, as he had the starting assignment in Curry’s absence. Livingston tallied 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go along with six assists as the Warriors picked apart a Pelicans squad that was playing without All-Star bigs Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
With the win, the Dubs improved to 66-14, and they’ll return to action on Monday as they host the Jazz ( Find Tickets) in the second-to-last game of the regular season.