sunny.png
Friday January 17th, 2020 11:40AM

Durant leads the way again, Warriors lead Rockets 2-0

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors brought it on both ends, kept their mouths shut and handled business at home against James Harden and the Rockets.

Now, the two-time defending champions are headed to Houston with a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal.

Durant scored 29 points and established an early defensive tone against Harden, leading the Warriors past the Rockets 115-109 on Tuesday night as the focus refreshingly returned to basketball after two days of constant chatter about the officiating.

"Tonight I think it was a great officiated game," Golden State's Draymond Green said. "They let us be physical, both teams, and they made the calls they needed to make. It was kind of disheartening for a game that I love since I was a child to see the talk over the last two days was nothing about basketball and everything about foul calls. Is that what this game is coming to?"

Harden got hit in both eyes early but was able to return and finished with 29 points and seven rebounds

"I barely could see," said Harden, who was treated with eye drops.

Boos regularly greeted both Harden and Chris Paul at deafening Oracle Arena, where the Rockets complained after a 104-100 Game 1 defeat that the officials missed foul calls when the Warriors closed out on Houston's 3-point shooters.

Paul celebrated and cheered when Harden drew a foul on Durant in the closing seconds of the third on a very such play. Harden converted three free throws to pull Houston within 82-75 going into the final 12 minutes.

Harden scored seven straight Houston points during one stretch midway through the fourth, including a 3 at 7:25 that go the Rockets within 92-89. Stephen Curry connected for a key 3 at the 6:31 mark on the way to 20 points.

Harden's eyes were still red and bothering him postgame.

"It's pretty blurry right now. Hopefully it gets better day by day," Harden said.

Klay Thompson scored 21 points and hit consecutive 3-pointers late in the third. Green had 15 points, 12 rebounds — three on the offensive end over two possessions in the opening quarter — and seven assists.

Game 3 is Saturday in Houston.

Players on both sides stayed poised with cool heads.

"I felt like both teams, both coaches, just let the refs do their jobs all night," Durant said. "I think the refs did an amazing job, the players did a great job, and the coaches."

Durant set a tone when took an early charge from Harden and blocked one of his shots as Houston committed five quick turnovers that led to 10 points. Andre Iguodala, who also handled much of the load defending Harden, added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Curry dislocated his left middle finger in the first quarter but X-rays were negative and he returned with it taped.

Curry missed his first four 3-point tries before hitting late in the first and played in foul trouble once more. He picked up his fourth with 6:43 in the third on a reach in, something he's been working to stop doing.

Harden injured his eyes with 6:39 left in the first, grabbing at his face after he and Green fought for a loose rebound and Green's left hand got Harden in the face.

When Harden went to the locker room with 6:27 left and a towel over his left eye for a cut, Green patted him on the back and checked to make sure he was OK. Harden returned at the 7:09 mark of the second.

"That's him. I didn't have a doubt he was coming back unless it was something catastrophic," coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Both teams were more composed when it came to mouthing off at the referees.

Harden already had a history with official Scott Foster, who worked Tuesday's game. The reigning MVP was fined $25,000 for calling Foster "rude and arrogant" following a 121-111 loss at the Lakers on Feb. 21 in which Harden fouled out.

In Game 1, Paul was automatically ejected with 4.4 seconds left following a second technical and fined $35,000 by the NBA on Monday for making contact with official Josh Tiven.

D'Antoni emphasized the scrutiny of officials "shouldn't continue."

Durant's run of five straight performances scoring at least 30 points was snapped.

With 201 points over his previous five games, he became the fourth player in NBA history to score 200 or more in such a span — joining LeBron James, Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan.

GREEN'S TECHNICALS

Green and Nene got tangled up and drew double technicals after Harden's third free throw at the end of the third.

With his fourth technical of the postseason, Green is three away from an automatic one-game suspension.

The Warriors plan to reach out to the league about getting the technical rescinded because coach Steve Kerr considered it one of those intense plays that happen in the postseason.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Houston committed nine first-quarter turnovers leading to 14 Warriors points while shooting 7 for 19. ... Reserve G Austin Rivers returned after he missed Game 1 with an illness. ... Houston is 5-14 vs. the Warriors dating to the 2015 Western Conference finals won by the Warriors on the way to their first title in 40 years. ... After going 14 of 47 from deep in the series opener, missing their initial eight threes and 27 straight to end Game 7 vs. Golden State last year, Houston shot 17 for 40 on 3s in Game 2.

Warriors: The Warriors committed just 12 turnovers after it became a big focus after getting 20 in Game 1. ... Golden State improved to 6-1 all-time in the postseason when using the starting lineup of Curry, Durant, Green, Iguodala and Thompson. ... With 324 career postseason 3s, Thompson matched Manu Ginobili for fourth on the NBA's all-time postseason list for 3s.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Japan PM Abe congratulates Naruhito
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has congratulated Emperor Naruhito and pledged his respect to him on the day he ascended to the Japanese throne
1:29AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Defense seeks to shift blame for warehouse fire
A prosecutor painted an emotional picture of three dozen partygoers dying in a fire during an unpermitted music concert in a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse.
1:27AM ( 28 minutes ago )
US watchdog: Afghans may not be ready for 'day after' peace
US watchdog: Afghanistan needs policies for reintegrating the Taliban into society, combatting corruption
1:24AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Diamondbacks beat Yankees 3-1 as Sabathia hits 3K strikeouts
CC Sabathia became the 17th player in major league history and third left-hander to reach 3,000 career strikeouts, but was outpitched by Arizona ace Zack Greinke in the Diamondbacks' 3-1 win over the New York Yankees
12:44AM ( 1 hour ago )
Antetokounmpo powers Bucks past Celtics 123-102 in Game 2
Antetokounmpo scores 29 points as Milwaukee Bucks beat Boston Celtics 123-102 in Game 2
12:24AM ( 1 hour ago )
Yankees' Sabathia becomes 17th pitcher with 3,000 strikeouts
New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia has become the 17th major leaguer and third left-hander to reach 3,000 career strikeouts
11:47PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Baffert likes his horses' chances in Kentucky Derby
Legendary trainer Bob Baffert, who parlayed a win by Justify in last year's Kentucky Derby into his second Triple Crown win, sees a wide open Derby.
4:48PM ( 9 hours ago )
UNC hires Princeton's Banghart as women's basketball coach
North Carolina has hired Princeton's Courtney Banghart as its next women's basketball coach
2:29PM ( 11 hours ago )
Ex-UConn basketball coach Kevin Ollie sues former assistant
Ex-UConn basketball coach Kevin Ollie sues former assistant, citing slander in NCAA comments
2:01PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Thunder plan to keep Donovan despite playoff struggles
Thunder plan to keep coach Billy Donovan despite playoff struggles
4:30PM ( 1 day ago )
Big payday for Beard after Texas Tech's run to title game
Texas Tech's Beard signs new contract with an average salary of $4.575 million through 2024-25 after run to title game
2:04PM ( 1 day ago )
Durant's 35 points carry Warriors past Rockets in Game 1
Kevin Durant scored 35 points in outdueling James Harden and the Golden State Warriors held off the Houston Rockets 104-100 in the opener of what is shaping up to be a sensational best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal
8:23PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
The Latest: Japan PM Abe congratulates Naruhito
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has congratulated Emperor Naruhito and pledged his respect to him on the day he ascended to the Japanese throne
1:29AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Defense seeks to shift blame for warehouse fire
A prosecutor painted an emotional picture of three dozen partygoers dying in a fire during an unpermitted music concert in a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse.
1:27AM ( 28 minutes ago )
US watchdog: Afghans may not be ready for 'day after' peace
US watchdog: Afghanistan needs policies for reintegrating the Taliban into society, combatting corruption
1:24AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Massacre defendant's attorneys want judge to remove them
The public defenders representing the former student charged with the Florida high school massacre are set to ask a judge to remove them from the case
1:21AM ( 35 minutes ago )
Barr expected to defend his handling of Mueller report
Attorney General William Barr will face lawmakers' questions for the first time since releasing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report
1:19AM ( 36 minutes ago )