OAKLAND (AP) — Kevin Durant hardly looks like a player who just returned from a 19-game absence because of a knee injury. More like a superstar ready to carry his team through a special postseason run.
“Yeah, I’ll say. He looked great tonight,” coach Steve Kerr said. “The first two games I thought he was solid. Tonight I thought he was spectacular with his shooting.”
Durant had 29 points, eight rebounds and five assists in his final playoff tuneup, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Los Angeles Lakers 109-94 in both teams’ final regular-season game Wednesday night.
Stephen Curry added 20 points, eight assists and five rebounds for the playoff-bound, top-seeded Warriors (67-15), poised for what they’re counting on being another deep run.
“We’re chasing something, we’re not protecting anything this year,” Curry said.
Klay Thompson scored 12 points as coach Steve Kerr rested Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green.
Jordan Clarkson led all five Lakers starters in double figures with 17 points.
A day after a fierce and fun 3-point shootout following practice, Durant said before the game he hoped to have found his shooting touch — then went out and shot 11 for 16 and made 5 of 7 3s, while Curry also hit five from deep.
“For a guy that talented it’s only going to take so long to knock the cobwebs off and the rust off,” Curry said.
After the game, as streamers fell, Curry took the microphone and thanked the sellout crowd for “all your support” and asked the fans to continue to bring that energy for the postseason.
Golden State was short-handed with 11 available bodies with mostly big men, prompting Kerr to say ahead of time “It will be a weird night for sure.”
Patrick McCaw added 13 points and JaVale McGee 11 off the bench for the Warriors, who wrapped up the league’s best record and the No. 1 seed in the West with a win last week at Phoenix. The Warriors are the first franchise in NBA history to win at least 67 games in three straight seasons.
Two-time reigning MVP Curry finished the season with 324 3-pointers, the NBA’s second-most ever in a single season behind his record 402 last season.
Kerr had a reason for resting Green aside from fatigue.
“What I’ve found with Draymond, if the game is meaningless, then so is Draymond,” Kerr chuckled. “I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Draymond needs some stakes, he needs the competition, he needs the game to be meaningful.”
The Lakers had their five-game winning streak snapped — the team’s longest unbeaten stretch in four years — while the Warriors saw their 14-game winning streak end against the Jazz at home Monday night.
Los Angeles shot just 4 for 17 from 3-point range while playing a back-to-back after beating the Pelicans at home Tuesday.
Golden State got rolling with a 27-8 run to build a 43-28 lead after the first.
WALTON’S FIRST YEAR
The Lakers finished 26-56 in coach Luke Walton’s first season.
Kerr praised former top assistant for how he handled all the challenges.
They still talk every few weeks and trade text messages regularly. They had lunch Wednesday.
“It’s been very trying for him,” Kerr said. “Losing is difficult on everybody in this league. Luke’s such a competitor, I know it’s tough, but I’m happy for them that they are finishing the season the way they are. … Luke’s in it for the long haul.”
Walton coached the Warriors’ initial 43 games including a record 24-0 start last season while Kerr was on a leave of absence because of complications from back surgery.
“He’s a natural. He showed that last year,” Kerr said. “He stepped into the role when I was out and crushed it.”
Lakers: G D’Angelo Russell missed his second straight game after returning home to Louisville following the Sunday death of his grandmother. … Assistant coach Theo Robertson was staying in the Bay Area as he transitions to his new job on the staff at California, where he played collegiately. … The Lakers lost their ninth straight on the Warriors’ home floor. … L.A. closed the season facing the Warriors for the first time since a 117-111 win on April 16, 2003, in Oakland.
Warriors: F Matt Barnes missed a second consecutive game with a sprained right foot and ankle and is doubtful for this weekend’s Game 1 against Portland, Kerr said.
The Warriors will host the Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs beginning with Game 1 on Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena. Kerr planned for meetings and film only Thursday, no mandatory on-court work.
“They are my favorites to win,” Walton predicted.
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