Lou Williams scores career-high 50, Clippers beat Warriors
By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Lou Williams sent the same roaring, adoring crowd that cheered Kevin Durant’s milestone to the exits several minutes before the final buzzer.
Durant was brilliant, and Williams even better.
Williams scored 27 of his career-high 50 points in the third quarter and the undermanned Los Angeles Clippers beat the Golden State Warriors for the first time in more than three years with a 125-106 win Wednesday that spoiled a milestone night for Durant.
Williams shot 16 for 27 with a career-best eight 3-pointers and made all 10 of his free throws.
“He ordered 50-piece nuggets on us tonight,” Durant quipped. “Lou got it going.”
Durant became the 44th player in NBA history to score 20,000 career points, finishing with 40 as the Warriors had their five-game winning streak snapped along with a 12-game unbeaten stretch in the Clippers rivalry.
Durant reached the milestone on a pull-up jumper from the left wing at the 1:41 mark of the second quarter. The Warriors announced his accomplishment on the main scoreboard and Durant received a standing ovation, shaking his head in acknowledgment while still very much in game mode.
By late in the fourth quarter, that crowd was making its way for the exits with the game out of reach.
The NBA Finals MVP returned from a three-game absence due to a strained right calf and scored 25 points in the first half against the Clippers — KD’s biggest half of the season and the exact number he needed for 20,000.
Durant, who had a four-point play during the second quarter on the way to 14 points in the period, is at 29 the second-youngest player behind LeBron James and first to reach the 20,000 mark as a member of the Warriors.
He shot 14 for 18, including 6 of 7 from deep, and Zaza Pachulia added 12 points on a night when the Warriors were without their starting backcourt. Stephen Curry re-sprained his right ankle during the morning shootaround, and Klay Thompson also was out for rest that had been previously scheduled.
“Our spirit wasn’t right, our energy wasn’t right. We weren’t connected and they were,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “The Clippers came in here probably insulted we were resting Klay, and obviously Steph goes down and so the game changes.”
Williams also dished out seven assists and rookie Tyrone Wallace added a season-best 22 points off the bench for the Clippers while returning to the Bay Area, where he starred in college at California.
“Obviously 50 is a huge number. It’s a great accomplishment,” Williams said. “For me, it was more important to get a win, try to close that gap to get back to .500, especially with the injuries, with guys in and out of the lineup, for us to still have that opportunity, to be in the playoff fold. So, I’ve been playing with confidence for the past month or so now.”
Nick Young started in place of Thompson and had seven points but shot 3 for 11 and missed six of his seven 3-point tries. It was Young’s first start with the Warriors. Shaun Livingston played in place of Curry and contributed eight points and four assists.
Draymond Green missed his first five shots before connecting late in the third.
“We still have two All-Stars. It’s an embarrassment of riches,” Kerr said of Durant and Green. “I’m not going to shy away from that.”
There were 13 lead changes in the first quarter alone. Golden State went on a 10-0 run midway through the second during which Durant scored eight points.
Curry has the same injury that recently sidelined him for 11 games, though Kerr said: “I don’t think it’s serious. … He tweaked it.” No MRI or X-rays were scheduled for now, though Curry was sore and the Warriors won’t take any chances.
“I didn’t see anything,” Kerr said before the game. “We just had a normal shootaround and he was in his usual game-day routine with Q (Bruce Fraser) and he just rolled his ankle somehow. Just kind of a fluke thing, kind of caught us off guard, but obviously he won’t play. … It’s unfortunate. Hopefully it’ll clear up in the next couple days.”
The Warriors are 10-2 without Curry.
Clippers: Los Angeles hadn’t beaten the Warriors since Christmas Day 2014. The Clippers also had lost 11 straight on Golden State’s home floor since a 105-86 win on Dec. 25, 2011.
Warriors: Durant had his seventh 30-point game this season. … Thompson had played in all 41 games this season. … C JaVale McGee played for only the second time in five games as Kerr struggles to use all his players in a deep, talented rotation. … Young earned his 194th career start as Golden State used a 14th different starting lineup this season — matching the team’s total from last season.
Clippers: At Sacramento on Thursday, looking for a fourth straight win in the series.
Warriors: At Milwaukee on Friday to begin a five-game road trip featuring tough stops at Cleveland and Houston.
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