Durant shines as Warriors halt Lakers
LOS ANGELES – Agence France-Presse
NBA Finals MVP Durant also contributed five rebounds and six assists as a Warriors side missing Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green completed a 117-106 win in Oakland.
The Lakers had gone toe-to-toe with the Warriors during an entertaining first half, holding the NBA champions at 55-55 at the break.
But a lapse in concentration midway through the third quarter saw the Warriors produce a 12-0 run, giving them a 70-59 lead which ultimately proved decisive.
The Warriors improved to 52-16 in the Western Conference, one win back from leaders Houston (53-14). The Lakers, who are outside of the playoff places, fell to 31-37.
With Curry, Green and Thompson all missing, Durant shouldered the offensive burden for the Warriors, with support from Nick Young (18 points) and Zaza Pachulia, who had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Lakers scoring was led by Julius Randle with 22 points, while Brook Lopez and Isaiah Thomas both had 20 apiece.
Elsewhere, the Washington Wizards fought back from a 20-point deficit to jolt the injury-hit Boston Celtics with a 125-124 victory in double overtime.
A Jodie Meeks three-pointer with two seconds remaining tied it for the Wizards at 106-106 to send the game into the first period of overtime after the Celtics appeared to have done enough for the win.
Bradley Beal led the way for the Wizards at Boston’s TD Garden on Wednesday, scoring 34 points with seven rebounds and nine assists.
Boston’s scoring was led by Marcus Morris with 31 points, Terry Rozier adding 21 and Tatum 19.
In other games, the Orlando Magic pulled off an upset against the playoff-chasing Milwaukee Bucks with a 126-117 victory.
Orlando’s Jonathon Simmons scored a career-high 35 points as the Magic improved to 21-48. The Bucks fell to 36-32 with the defeat.
Simmons was ably supported by point guard D.J. Augustin, who had 32 points along with four assists and three rebounds.
Montenegrin centre Nikola Vucevic also proved influential, scoring 22 points while finishing with nine assists and nine rebounds.