Monte Poole

Instant Replay: Warriors become first to clinch playoff berth with win vs Nets

Instant Replay: Warriors become first to clinch playoff berth with win vs Nets

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- What was never in much doubt with the Warriors became official Saturday night at Oracle Arena. They will be in the playoffs.

Closing out a brief two-game homestand with a 112-95 win over Brooklyn, the Warriors clinched their fifth consecutive trip to the postseason while sending the Nets to their 16th consecutive loss.

With Kevin Durant missing his first game of the season, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson carried most of the scoring load. Curry put in a game-high 27 points, while Thompson finished with 24.

Rookie forward Pat McCaw, starting in place of Durant, finished with nine points, four rebounds and two blocks. He was plus-20 for the game.

In a game between two uptempo teams, the Warriors (49-9) outscored the Nets 30-16 on fast-break points while also making 11 of their 29 3-pointers.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 points to lead the Nets, who fell to 9-49.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

While Thompson and Curry handled most of the scoring, Zaza Pachulia submitted a strong all-around game on offense while making life difficult on Brook Lopez.

Pachulia’s line: Eight points (3-of-5 from the field, 2-of-3 from the line), nine rebounds, three assists and one block. He played 20 minutes and finished plus-29.

Furthmore, with Pachulia as the primary defender on Lopez, the Brooklyn big man didn’t score until midway through the third quarter and totaled only nine points.

TURNING POINT

After falling behind 46-45 on a Joe Harris 3-pointer with 4:02 left in the first half, the Warriors went on a 19-5 run that extended into the second half, taking 64-51 lead with 11:24 left in the third quarter.

The Warriors led by as much as 19 in the third quarter, and Brooklyn got no closer than eight (99-91, 5:10 remaining) in the fourth.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L hand contusion) was listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Nets: F Quincy Acy (L ankle sprain) and G/F Caris LeVert (illness) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Monday in Philadelphia, where they will face the 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Pacific.

Warriors rookie McCaw starts vs Nets with Durant ruled out

Warriors rookie McCaw starts vs Nets with Durant ruled out

OAKLAND -- With Kevin Durant out of the Warriors lineup Saturday night with swelling in his left pinky finger, rookie wing Pat McCaw will start at forward against Brooklyn at Oracle Arena.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr made the announcement two hours before tipoff.

As for Durant, the contusion in his left pinky finger, sustained Thursday, is still in the healing process.

“Kevin’s hand is still a little swollen,” Kerr said. “It’s not anything we want to mess around with. We’ve got a long trip coming up, a lot of games. It made sense to give him the night off. We’ll have tomorrow off, flying in to Philadelphia. So hopefully the next couple days it’ll calm down and be fine. It’s kind of a day-to-day thing.”

The decision to start McCaw -- who often competes with Ian Clark for playing time -- was based mostly on how he matches up against the Nets.

“They both have my trust and my confidence,” Kerr said. “Both of them are very effective. It’s depending what we need. If we need ball movement and cutting, I’m more likely to go to Ian. He’s a great back-cutter and he gives our offense flow and he’ll make spot-up shots. If we need some size defensively, we’ll go to Patrick. They’ve both been effective. I wouldn’t say either one is ahead of the other. They’re both going to play.”

McGee expresses appreciation for support from teammates in Shaq feud

McGee expresses appreciation for support from teammates in Shaq feud

OAKLAND -- Though JaVale McGee avoided direct discussion of his feud with retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, the Warriors center expressed his appreciation for coaches and teammates coming to his defense.

“My teammates are my brothers, and (coach) Steve Kerr is also,” McGee said after shootaround Saturday morning. “It’s a great organization and I appreciate everything they do for me. That’s why I go out there and work as hard as I can when I’m on the floor. And I know everyone sees that. They see me running up and down the floor, working as hard as I can, and in the gym every day. I’m just doing my thing and trying to be a positive person.”

O’Neal’s constant ridicule of McGee reached a low point Thursday night, when the TNT analyst unveiled a video that showed various gaffes and slights to McGee’s intellect. McGee, who has held his tongue for years despite being targeted, fired back on Twitter.

Both men exchanged several insults and it reached a point Friday where by Kevin Durant and Kerr felt compelled to defend McGee.

Kerr even acknowledged that he harbored a few preconceived notions about McGee, based on O’Neal’s yearslong derision of the 7-footer. Those notions, Kerr said, turned out to be false.

McGee said he enjoys it when people take the time to engage him in conversation and come away realizing he is not a dolt, despite O’Neal frequently implying otherwise.

“I love it when people meet me,” McGee said, “and then they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re actually smart.’ It’s kind of rude, but I’ll take it.”

One of McGee’s teammates knows a thing or two about false impressions. Even after a strong collegiate career, Draymond Green had to overcome doubts that he was worthy of being in the NBA.

So it is no surprise that, to some degree, he understands how McGee feels.

“He’s standing up for himself,” Green said. “A lot has transpired over the course of the past four years with it. And he was just at a boiling point.”