Kevin Durant shoots Warriors past Lakers 116-114 in OT on Kobe's night
19 Dec 2017 - 14:19
By GREG BEACHAM | AP
LOS ANGELES: On the night the Los Angeles Lakers retired both of Kobe Bryant's jerseys, Kevin Durant provided his own tribute with a deadly accurate impression of the Black Mamba.
Durant couldn't hit a shot early on, but simply refused to stop launching.
And when the game was finally on the line, he didn't miss.
Durant scored 36 points and hit a tiebreaking 22-foot jumper with 7.3 seconds left in overtime, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Lakers 116-114 Monday for their ninth consecutive victory.
Klay Thompson had 17 points and 10 rebounds as the defending NBA champions predictably dampened a celebratory night for the Lakers, who honored Bryant with a halftime ceremony.
"That was for Kobe Night," Durant said with a grin. "I had to get them up for Kob."
Durant and Thompson combined to miss 31 of their first 40 shots, allowing the Lakers to keep it close. Durant was 6 for 25 in regulation but he went 4 for 4 in overtime, capped by the pure go-ahead jumper that eventually won it.
Stephen Curry missed his fifth straight game with a sprained ankle, and Draymond Green sat out for the fourth time in five games with right shoulder soreness. Durant and the Warriors still hit enough big buckets to handle the Lakers, but only after plenty of misses.
"I've had so many bad shooting nights, and I know that it makes just for a better player," Durant said. "I got better tonight. I fought through it, I was able to make some shots down the stretch, and I feel more confident going into my next game shooting the ball."
The Lakers missed several opportunities down the regulation stretch to seize control of the game. They also had a chance to tie it at the end, but David West blocked Lonzo Ball's shot and Brandon Ingram couldn't beat the buzzer.
"The past two years, we've got blown out of games (like this)," said Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr., whose eight points included a thunderous dunk over Durant that brought the crowd to its feet. "Now we're taking these guys to overtime, and it's going down to the last shot. That's a huge step in growth. Now the next step is winning these games."
Kyle Kuzma scored 25 points in a reserve role and Ingram added 19 for the Lakers, who have lost three straight and eight of 10. Ball had 16 points, six assists and six rebounds.
The Warriors nursed a narrow lead in the fourth period despite their two stars' shooting struggles, but Ingram drove for the tying layup with 27 seconds left. After Durant missed, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drove downcourt with the crowd on its feet and a chance to emulate Kobe on a late game-winner.
But Caldwell-Pope badly missed his long jumper at the buzzer. He finished with 14 points on 4-of-17 shooting.
Bryant didn't stick around for overtime, leaving with his family.
The Lakers saluted Bryant by hanging his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys high above the Staples Center court during a ceremony attended by dozens of his former teammates and competitors, from Shaquille O'Neal to Allen Iverson. Bryant is the leading scorer in franchise history, and Magic Johnson declared him "the greatest who ever wore the purple and gold." Bryant spent his brief remarks thanking his friends and the Lakers before addressing his three daughters at courtside: "If you do the work, work hard enough, then dreams come true."
Warriors: Golden State played its final road game of 2017. ... The Warriors will host the Lakers in Oakland on Friday night.
Lakers: Ingram left briefly in the third quarter after taking a hard fall underneath the basket. He had a bruise on his right cheek, but felt good enough to continue.