Warriors Stifle the Heat
Golden State Improves to 33-6
The Warriors outlasted the Heat and came away with a 107-95 home victory over Miami on Tuesday night. The Dubs trailed at the end of each of the first two quarters but used a stout defensive performance in the second half to come away with the win. Kevin Durant led Golden State with 28 points, while Stephen Curry filled the stat sheet with 24 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. With the victory, the Warriors improve to 33-6 on the season.
Miami came into the game averaging the second fewest points in the league, but you wouldn’t have known by the way they started Tuesday’s contest, opening a 20-11 lead within the first eight minutes of the first quarter. Kevin Durant struggled in the early going and missed his first five shot attempts, but his dunk on the Warriors’ next possession would turn things around for him, as he’d go on to make four of his next five field goals. Stephen Curry would score the final two of his 10 first quarter points on free throws to tie the game at 27 with five seconds left before James Johnson’s dunk as time expired gave the Heat a slight 29-27 lead heading into the second frame. Curry and Durant combined for 19 of Golden State’s 27 first quarter points, as the duo took on a larger scoring burden due to Klay Thompson being inactive.
Johnson would score the first basket of the second quarter, after which the Warriors responded with an 13-0 run to take their first lead since the opening minute of the game, and that was all while Curry and Durant sat on the bench. Miami would come back to take a 51-49 lead on Hassan Whiteside’s dunk with 45 seconds remaining in the first half, but Curry’s pull-up jumper on the ensuing possession tied the game once more. Wayne Ellington would add three free throws with 1.3 seconds left, but David West found Draymond Green with a full-court pass off the ensuing inbound, who was promptly fouled. Green then sank both resulting free throws, cutting the deficit to 54-53 heading into halftime. Much of Miami’s advantage could be attributed to Whiteside, whose 16 points and 10 rebounds at the half led all players.
Durant opened the second half with a three-pointer to put the Warriors back in front, and after Curry sank a jumper 21 seconds later, Golden State wouldn’t trail for the rest of the night.
Miami would cut it to a single possession game three times throughout the duration of the third frame, but in each instance, they were met with a swift and immediate response from the Dubs. JaVale McGee’s turnaround bank shot with two seconds remaining sent the game into the fourth and final quarter with the Warriors leading 79-68, their largest advantage up to that point in the game.
West’s 18-foot jumper to open the fourth frame increased Golden State’s lead to 13, but that’s as large as it would get, as Miami remained intent on keeping things close. Tyler Johnson’s dunk completed a 9-1 Heat run that closed the gap to 85-82 with 6:35 remaining in regulation, but the Dubs responded with a 6-0 burst to provide a bit of breathing room. Miami would then trim the deficit to seven points for the first of four times throughout the remainder of the game, but they’d get no closer. After Goran Dragic brought the Heat within 96-89 with 2:40 left, Durant converted a jumper to ignite an 11-1 Warriors’ run that would account for the rest of their points on the night and put the game out of reach for good.
With the victory, Golden State improves to 33-6 on the season. They’ll continue their four-game homestand on Thursday when they host the visiting Detroit Pistons.