via The Sports Xchange
DALLAS — The Golden State Warriors found their groove without injured star forward Kevin Durant.
After an impressive victory at Oklahoma City the night before, the Warriors put on an offensive clinic Tuesday at Dallas, drilling the Mavericks 112-87 at American Airlines Center.
The victory was the Warriors’ fifth in a row after staggering around .500 since Durant left the lineup with a knee injury Feb. 28. Although Durant traveled with the team for the first time since the injury, his return is not imminent.
However, But with the type of weapons Golden State possesses, it was only a matter of time before it figured out how to adjust without their leading scorer. Guard Klay Thompson led the balanced attack with 23 points, going 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. Backcourt mate Steph Curry had a breezy night with 17 points and nine assists.
The Warriors (57-14) collected 34 assists on 43 baskets.
The game didn’t play out the way Dallas (30-40) hoped as Mavs fans awaited their own Curry — Seth, who is enjoying a breakout season — going head-to-head with his older brother in what was being billed as the Curry Bowl.
“Just knowing that we were going to be out there for extended minutes playing against each other is a surreal kind of feeling; seeing your brother, who you’ve been battling with since you can remember, out on the NBA floor,” Steph Curry said. “It’s amazing to see what he has done here in Dallas, taking his game to the next level and showing them what he is really about.”
Things started off well for the younger Curry and the Mavs as six different Dallas players drilled 3-pointers in the first quarter for a 30-28 lead. But it all fell apart from there. Golden State reeled off 34 points in the second quarter that included a 28-7 run, to lead 62-50. A quick 7-0 spurt to start the third quarter put the game out of reach for good.
“They are the best, probably that I’ve ever seen, of hit and runs, going 6-0, 8-0, 10-0 just like that with 3-point shots, great ball movement and defense,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “We didn’t play well, that is pretty clear, and when we had shots we weren’t making them, and that doesn’t help.”
The well-oiled Warriors led by 20 after three quarters and were shooting better than 57 percent from the floor and well over 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Ian Clark added 18 bench points for Golden State and Patrick McCaw had 10.
“When you’re out on the road you have to defend, you have to maintain a really good defense to win road games, and I think we’ve done that,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “In the past several seasons our team has been in the top five in the NBA defensively, and obviously we’ve got plenty of shooters and scorers. If we can defend at a high level we feel like we’re always going to find points and give ourselves a chance to win.”
Dallas was led by Dirk Nowitzki’s 16 points and nine rebounds. Nerlens Noel had 14 points and seven boards. Seth Curry had a disappointing evening, finishing with 10 points on just 4-of-12 shooting.
Forward Harrison Barnes, who has had a strong season in his first year with Dallas, did not fare well against his former team, going 2 for 10 from the floor for five points. Wesley Matthews was also held in single digits with eight points. Point guard Yogi Ferrell had 12 points.
“You’ve just got to give them credit. It was great team defense,” Barnes said. “The first few times we played against them I saw mostly single-coverage, but tonight they zoned up a lot. I didn’t seem to run out of gas in the last game, so I wouldn’t say it is fatigue. Like I said, we’ve got to give them credit. They had great team defensive coverage tonight.”