OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant called himself a “jerk.” The Minnesota Timberwolves had a different description of the Golden State Warriors’ All-Star forward, calling him “the best scorer in the world.”
Durant had 28 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Warriors made a season-high 21 3-pointers in a 126-113 victory over the Timberwolves on Thursday night.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each added 25 points for Golden State.
Durant was fined $15,000 by the NBA earlier in the day for his comments about referee James Williams after being ejected from Tuesday’s win against the New York Knicks. He later apologized and said he had acted like a “diva” and a “jerk.” Also on Thursday, Durant said he was the first pick in the NBA All-Star draft conducted by team captains Curry and LeBron James.
“Life could be much worse. It was definitely a fun day,” Durant said. “I was looking forward to seeing who was going to be on the All-Star teams, looking forward to my fine and most of all looking forward to playing tonight.”
Durant went 6 of 9 on 3-pointers and continually pushed the ball down the court to create open shots for Curry and Thompson. Durant hit two 3s and Curry added a third in a 67-second span late in the third quarter, during which the Warriors (39-10) went 8 of 11 on 3-pointers, leading Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau to throw up his arms in frustration.
Minnesota’s Jamal Crawford said Durant has become a better passer, making him even more of an offensive threat.
“He’s even more dangerous. He’s already the best scorer in the world,” Crawford said. “If he has the assists, that just makes it tough to deal with.”
The Warriors matched their previous season high of 18 3-pointers by the end of the third quarter. They made 57 percent from behind the arc in the game, with Thompson hitting seven and Curry connecting on five. That pinpoint shooting allowed Warriors coach Steve Kerr to forgive his team for 15 turnovers and inconsistent defense.
“Our guys are so talented they lit up the scoreboard. They can win a lot of games without being totally dialed in and defending at a high level and that’s what happened tonight,” Kerr said. “It wasn’t our best effort, but talent wins.”
Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Crawford added 21 points and Jeff Teague had 17 points and seven assists for Minnesota, which played its fourth straight game without Jimmy Butler, who has a sore right knee.
Timberwolves: Thibodeau said before the game that Butler, an All-Star reserve, is “close” to returning, Minnesota is 2-2 in the four games Butler has missed.
Warriors: Curry became the fifth player in Warriors history to score 14,000 points, ending the game with 14,023. Curry, who is in his ninth season, trails Wilt Chamberlain (17,783), Rick Barry (16,447), Paul Arizin (16,266) and Chris Mullin (16,235) on the franchise list.
Zaza Pachulia played in his 1,000th regular-season game, becoming the third Warriors player to reach that mark this season, joining David West and Andre Iguodala. It was game No. 109 for Pachulia in a Warriors jersey. Most of his games, 556, were played with the Atlanta Hawks.
Towns was unstoppable near the basket at times and the Timberwolves had a 60-44 advantage on points in the paint. But that didn’t matter against the Warriors’ outside marksmanship. “You can’t beat the Warriors if you’re playing 2 versus 3. You can’t trade 2s for 3s,” Towns said. “We did a great job fighting all night, but it seemed like we got so close, they just started raining 3s again. No matter, uncontested, contested, it didn’t matter. They hit them when they needed to hit them. That’s the sign of a championship team right there.”
Timberwolves: Host Brooklyn on Saturday, seeking a 10th straight home win.
Warriors: Host the Boston Celtics on Saturday.
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