MANILA, Philippines – DeMarcus Cousins delivered a season-best performance and Kevin Durant threw down a couple of emphatic slams as the Golden State Warriors overwhelmed the Denver Nuggets, 116-102, to strengthen their hold of the top spot in the NBA Western Conference on Tuesday, April 2 (Wednesday, April 3, Manila time).
Cousins dropped a double-double of 28 points and 13 rebounds on top of 5 assists, 2 steals and a pair of blocks to power a Warriors side that came out clicking and erected a 30-point spread, 105-75, by the final quarter.
Durant also had a stellar night of 21 points and 6 assists before getting ejected with 8:21 minutes left in the 3rd period following a verbal altercation with a referee.
The victory strengthened the defending champions’ grip of the No. 1 seed with a 53-24 record and padded their edge over the Nuggets, their closest West challenger who fell to 51-26.
"We handled our business," said Curry. "We did what we were supposed to do – protect our homecourt."
"Obviously we understand we're chasing that No. 1 seed. I guess we control our own destiny now," he added after the Warriors stretched their lead over Denver atop the West to two games with 5 regular-season games remaining.
The Warriors also own the tiebreaker, thanks to winning 3 of 4 against the Nuggets in the regular season.
#DubNation @boogiecousins records a season-high 28 PTS with 12 REB & 5 AST in the @warriors win! pic.twitter.com/eN2cBcKbI7 — NBA (@NBA) April 3, 2019
Steph Curry pumped in 15 of his 17 points from beyond the arc while also grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists for the Warriors.
Curry’s output also put him at 4th place on the Warriors’ all-time scoring list with 16,236 points as the two-time MVP surpassed Chris Mullin (16,235).
Durant got ejected early in the 3rd quarter after yelling at referee Zach Zarba, whom the reigning Finals MVP claimed had missed a foul call when he airballed a three-point attempt over Denver’s Paul Milsap.
His 14th and 15th technical fouls of the season mean Durant is one away from an automatic one-game suspension.
"I thought he deserved the first technical, I didn't think he deserved the second," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "I was very surprised... but, you know, we move on."
Earlier in the day, Curry, Durant and Draymond Green got slapped with a total fine of $75,000 for comments criticizing the integrity of the referees during and after the Warriors’ controversial overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. (READ: NBA fines 3 Warriors All-Stars for ref rants)
Jamal Muray led the Nuggets with 17 points and Milsap scored 11 and grabbed 8 boards.
Kevin Durant pic.twitter.com/JKXJN6Mkz3 — Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 3, 2019
– With a report from Agence France-Presse