Durant Erupts for 25 Points in Fourth Quarter as Warriors Bury the Knicks
WARRIORS 128, KNICKS 100
Kevin Durant scored 25 of his 41 points in a ruthless fourth-quarter clinic as the Golden State Warriors beat the Knicks, 128-100, on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks led by 3 after three quarters before Durant and the Warriors starting hitting from all over the floor, making 19 of 26 shots. Things went so well that on a rare long-range miss by Durant, the ball bounced all the way out behind the arc to a wide-open Stephen Curry, who made the 3-pointer.
Curry added 29 points and six 3-pointers and now has at least five in every game this season. But on the floor where Curry scored a career-best 54 points in 2013, his performance seemed almost quiet because of Durant.
Durant was the center of attention leading into the game and then became the star of it, putting on a show in front of fans who hope he will make the Garden his home if he becomes a free agent this summer.
He finished 17 of 24 from the floor, including 5 of 9 from behind the arc, and grabbed nine rebounds.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 24 points for the Knicks, who have dropped five in a row after a season-opening victory over Atlanta. Golden State outscored them by 47-16 in the fourth quarter.
Knicks Coach David Fizdale changed his starting lineup, going with Hardaway, Frank Ntilikina, Noah Vonleh, Damyean Dotson and the rookie Mitchell Robinson, and the group provided a strong start and a 16-10 lead.
But that lead was quickly wiped out, mostly by Curry, who made his first five shots, three of them from behind the arc.
Durant drew plenty of attention upon his arrival and a loud ovation when he was announced with the starting lineups. He can become a free agent after this season, and Knicks fans hope he can speed up their rebuilding. A billboard urging him to come to New York popped up on a building near Madison Square Garden this week.
Durant showed Knicks fans what they would be getting with a fourth-quarter flurry while Curry was on the bench. He had 10 points in a 12-4 spurt that turned a 6-point deficit into a 93-91 lead with 8 minutes 16 seconds to play and then followed a 3-pointer that gave the Knicks their last lead with 5 straight points.
Golden State stays in town to face the Nets on Sunday. This is the first time the Warriors have played the two New York teams on the same trip.
DeMarcus Cousins, who is not even playing for Golden State yet, was ejected from the game in the first quarter.
It was unclear what happened with Cousins, who was sitting in street clothes on the Golden State bench not far from where Curry had made a 3-pointer on a shot on which it appeared he may have also drawn contact.
As play resumed after a timeout with 2:28 remaining in the first quarter, it was announced that Cousins had been assessed a technical foul during the break and then ejected.
Cousins is still recovering from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. He took part in his first practice with the Warriors on Thursday, but there is still no timetable for his return to action.