However, if it were up to him, he would have done even more. The only thing that saved them then were crucial baskets of their own from Eric Gordon and Gerald Green, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr subbing Durant out for a breather the Warriors closer did not want. Durant, who played just more than 40 minutes, was asked if he'd prefer to play the entire 48 minutes.
Durant was hell bent on devastation, torching an assortment of Rockets defenders for his 37 points. "He can get any shot he wants".
The fact that they were starting this series away from the friendly confines of Oracle Arena for the first time during their recent run did nothing to shake their belief in themselves.
The Warriors will look to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
The Houston Rockets know the feeling now, after living through it on what could turn out to be the biggest night of the best (regular) season in the history of the franchise.
Thompson had a 3-pointer and two free throws in a 10-2 Warriors run that Durant capped with a 3-pointer for a 100-87 lead with 7:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The defending champions snatched home-court advantage with a frenetic 119-106 win at Toyota Center on Tuesday (NZT).More news: Matt Dillon mounts killing spree in first House That Jack Built trailer
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For a coach like Mike D'Antoni, who patented his seven seconds or less offense with the Suns, this team is the polar opposite. "There were too many times where we had mental lapses". We turned the ball over a little bit too much. We play a calm steady game, look for a good shot and play good D every time down.
Now the Rockets are left to regroup after losing their leg up in the homecourt advantage they worked all season for.
Harden battled him at least in terms of points as he went for 41 of his own, but they came in vastly different ways. "(But) we don't have it. "We just got to be a little better". Steph Curry also had a postseason low, but the Warriors still managed to win by double digits.
Houston will host game two on Thursday (NZT) before the series shifts to Oakland for games three and four. I think that's important, he only had one turnover in the game. "You can't live with that and make mental mistakes", D'Antoni said. We can't withstand turning the ball over and giving up so many wide open threes'.
Klay Thompson hit six 3's, a lot of them wide open, and finished with 28 points to help bust the game wide open. "They made good shots", he said. You know how they get shots off in isolation-type situations, and they're tough to stop.
Durant was enormous when Stephen Curry was out with a sprained MCL - an injury that kept him out until Game 2 of the second round - and Klay Thompson has been hot-and-cold all postseason, but the Warriors were never truly in danger until they lost Game 3 to the Pelicans.
Green added two blocks and two steals to anchor the Golden State defense.