OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Fresh off his MVP performance in the All-Star game, Kevin Durant made certain the Golden State Warriors got off on the right foot for their stretch run to the playoffs.
He also gave Sacramento’s prized rookie Marvin Bagley III quite a lesson on defense.
Durant had 28 points, nine rebounds and tied his career-high with seven blocks, and the Warriors survived a hectic finish to beat the Kings 125-123 on Thursday night.
“Kevin was tremendous in every aspect, the energy, the cutting, the aggressiveness,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “Defensively he was all over the place. He was really on his game tonight in every way.”
Durant’s scoring helped the Warriors stay close early but it was his defense that stood out the most. Five of his blocks came against Bagley, the second overall pick in the draft. All five came in the first half.
“Just got lucky,” Durant said. “Marvin being the rookie and showing me the ball, I was just swiping.”
Stephen Curry scored 36 points, hitting 10 3-pointers. DeMarcus Cousins added 17 points and 10 rebounds in his first game against his former team since signing with the Warriors this past offseason.
The Warriors led most of the fourth quarter behind Curry’s 11 points. The two-time MVP shot 12 of 23 overall and was 10 of 16 beyond the arc.
“Just figured out the end of the game,” Durant said. “We made shots, Steph got it going in the fourth knocking down 3s off the screen. Sometimes you’re not going to win it with the team game, the way we always play. Sometimes you’re just going to have street ball.”
Golden State still had to hold on to avoid back-to-back losses.
Sacramento trailed 123-117 with 25.5 seconds remaining but closed within 125-123 following back-to-back 3s by Buddy Hield.
After Andre Iguodala missed a pair of free throws, the Kings had a chance to tie but Hield shot an airball as time expired.
Golden State won all four games against Sacramento this season.
“They’re tough to guard,” Kerr said of the improving Kings. “Down the stretch it felt like they got every offensive board. We had to get some big contributions late from Steph and KD, some big baskets from Klay, just to squeak it out.”
Bagley III had 28 points and 14 rebounds for the Kings. Hield had 19 points and seven rebounds while De’Aaron Fox added 18 points and eight assists.
“I just want to beat them really bad,” Bagley said. “I hate losing to them. We come up close every single time. We have to figure out how to get over that hump.”
Sacramento got an early boost from Bagley and led by 11 early in the second quarter. He had 10 points and four rebounds in the first half and spent part of the time trying to defend Durant.
Golden State chipped away behind Curry and Durant, and Iguodala dunked off a lob pass from Green.
The Kings pulled away again before Durant made a pair of big plays to close out the third quarter. He drove around three Sacramento defenders for an emphatic one-handed dunk then made a deep 3 with two-tenths of a second remaining to pull Golden State within 91-89.
Kings: Corey Brewer scored the team’s first eight points in the fourth quarter in his first game with Sacramento. Brewer is on his second 10-day contract with the club. … Harrison Barnes had 13 points and seven rebounds. Barnes was Golden State’s first-round pick in 2012 and spent four seasons with the Warriors.
Warriors: Green was called for a technical foul with one minute left in the fourth quarter. . Golden State is 10-0 when starting Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Cousins. … Shaun Livingston left the team to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
LIKE OLD TIMES
Hall of Fame coach Don Nelson and a handful of players from Golden State’s 2006-07 playoff team were in attendance, including Stephen Jackson and Jason Richardson.
IGUODALA FOR THE UNION
Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP, is the new vice president of the players association.
“Our purpose is to assure players’ job security,” he said. “That’s always a key for us, making sure that we get a fair share of revenues. … And tackle whatever issues come up. We try to be proactive, and I think the NBA does the same thing.”
Kings: Visit the Thunder on Saturday night.
Warriors: Host the Rockets on Saturday night.