LOS ANGELES – On the evening the Los Angeles Lakers retired each of Kobe Bryant’s jerseys, Kevin Durant supplied his personal tribute with a lethal correct impression of the Black Mamba.
Durant could not hit a shot early on, however merely refused to cease launching.
And when the sport was lastly on the road, he did not miss.
Durant scored 36 factors and hit a tiebreaking 22-foot jumper with 7.three seconds left in time beyond regulation, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Lakers 116-114 Monday for his or her ninth consecutive victory.
Klay Thompson had 17 factors and 10 rebounds because the defending NBA champions predictably dampened a celebratory evening for the Lakers, who honored Bryant with a halftime ceremony.
“That was for Kobe Evening,” Durant stated with a smile. “I needed to get them up for Kob.”
Durant and Thompson mixed to overlook 31 of their first 40 pictures, permitting the Lakers to maintain it shut. Durant was 6 for 25 in regulation however he went Four for Four in time beyond regulation, capped by the pure go-ahead jumper that ultimately received it.
Stephen Curry missed his fifth straight recreation with a sprained ankle, and Draymond Inexperienced sat out for the fourth time in 5 video games with proper shoulder soreness. Durant and the Warriors nonetheless hit sufficient massive buckets to deal with the Lakers, however solely after loads of misses.
“I’ve had so many dangerous taking pictures nights, and I do know that it makes only for a greater participant,” Durant stated. “I received higher tonight. I fought by means of it, I used to be capable of make some pictures down the stretch, and I really feel extra assured going into my subsequent recreation taking pictures the ball.”
The Lakers missed a number of alternatives down the regulation stretch to grab management of the sport. In addition they had an opportunity to tie it on the finish, however David West blocked Lonzo Ball’s shot and Brandon Ingram could not beat the buzzer.
“The previous two years, we have blown out of video games (like this),” stated Lakers ahead Larry Nance Jr., whose eight factors included a thunderous dunk over Durant that introduced the group to its ft. “Now we’re taking these guys to time beyond regulation, and it is happening to the final shot. That is an enormous step in progress. Now the subsequent step is successful these video games.”
Kyle Kuzma scored 25 factors in a reserve function and Ingram added 19 for the Lakers, who’ve misplaced three straight and eight of 10. Ball had 16 factors, six assists and 6 rebounds.
The Warriors nursed a slender lead within the fourth interval regardless of their two stars’ taking pictures struggles, however Ingram drove for the tying layup with 27 seconds left. After Durant missed, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drove downcourt with the group on its ft and an opportunity to emulate Kobe on a late game-winner.
However Caldwell-Pope badly missed his lengthy jumper on the buzzer. He completed with 14 factors on Four-of-17 taking pictures.
Bryant did not stick round for time beyond regulation, leaving together with his household.
The Lakers saluted Bryant by hanging his No. eight and No. 24 jerseys excessive above the Staples Middle courtroom throughout a ceremony attended by dozens of his former teammates and opponents, from Shaquille O’Neal to Allen Iverson. Bryant is the main scorer in franchise historical past, and Magic Johnson declared him “the best who ever wore the purple and gold.” Bryant spent his transient remarks thanking his pals and the Lakers earlier than addressing his three daughters at courtside: “For those who do the work, work arduous sufficient, then desires come true.”