Kevin Durant and Draymond Green invited the Pistons to a block party

Ball Don't Lie
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4244/" data-ylk="slk:Kevin Durant">Kevin Durant</a> celebrates the first 6-0 road trip in Warriors history. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Durant celebrates the first 6-0 road trip in Warriors history. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kevin Durant has been absolutely sensational since he returned to the Golden State Warriors starting lineup after nursing a sprained ankle. Steph Curry’s own ankle injury triggered an uptick in Durant’s usage and with one less mouth to feed, Durant has been stunting on opponents and rather than skip a beat, he’s ratcheted it up a notch.

On Friday night, Peak Durant returned to polish Golden State’s six-game road swing with a smackdown of the Detroit Pistons. Durant was a near-one man show posting 36 points on 12-of-26 shooting, seven assists, five blocks and 10 rebounds. He fell a few assists short of a second-consecutive triple double, but left his imprint all over the Warriors win.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

Klay Thompson rattled off 21 points, but slid into a tertiary role as Draymond Green and Durant led the charge. Together, they were a defensive penumbra who took their turn blotting out Andre Drummond in the paint. Despite registering 17 rebounds, Drummond failed to register a double-double because he was held by Green and Durant, to eight points and 2-of-9 shooting.

Green, who rested a sore shoulder on Wednesday, returned to the lineup and provided a boost in the form of 13 assists and six blocks. In collaboration with Durant, the Warriors had Detroit in a defensive vice heading into the fourth quarter despite a modest offensive output.

Thompson, who has made getting blocks a priority this season, tried to get in on the block party action. Instead, he wound up getting bounced by security as Boban Marjanovic delivered a two-hand slam over a contesting Thompson. For the most part, everybody stuck to what they were good at.

The Warriors appeared to have the Pistons in a stranglehold until a 9-3 run midway through the fourth quarter. That Pistons surge lit a fire underneath Durant. The Warriors forward responded by bouncing a dribble between his legs pulling up and launching a 3-pointer. The shot attempt didn’t fall, but he was awarded with three free throws because Anthony Tolliver’s foot slid underneath Durant and impeded his landing.

With 1:37 remaining, Durant swatted a Tolliver 3-point attempt, leaked out as Thompson recovered the deflected shot and lobbed the outlet pass to Durant, who caught it in stride for a breakaway dunk that pushed the Warriors lead to seven points.

However, Durant’s heroics were nearly negated by his own blunder. As the Pistons pressed in the final 25 seconds, an overeager Durant lost his dribble attempted to escape a trap and the Pistons converted the turnover into an Avery Bradley three-pointer that whittled the lead down to two points. Shaun Livingston would botch both of his free throws on the next possession, but Detroit’s chances for a win would go up in smoke after Reggie Jackson missed a contested lay-up and Thompson drained two free throws.

What to Read Next