Instant Replay: Warriors roar back in second to down Blazers

Instant Replay: Warriors roar back in second to down Blazers

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The Warriors made it hard on themselves Wednesday night, but they still came away with their ninth consecutive victory at Oracle Arena.

With Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant combining for 65 points, the Warriors held on for a 125-117 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Curry finished with 35 points, while Durant poured in 30. Klay Thompson tossed in 14 and Zaza Pachulia 13 as the Warriors (31-5) defeated Portland for the third time this season and the fifth time in a row.

The Warriors recorded 31 assists, the 25th game in which they’ve posted at least 30.

Guard CJ McCollum scored 35 points -- 26 in the first half -- to lead the Blazers (15-22), who were playing without star point guard Damian Lillard.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

On a night of sporadic defense and Curry somewhat neutralizing his tremendous offense with five turnovers, Durant’s efficiency and two-way game were once again nothing less than marvelous.

Durant’s line: 30 points (9-of-16 shooting from the field, including 3-of-8 from deep, 9-of-9 from the line), five rebounds, four assists, three blocks and one steal. He played 38 minutes and finished plus-22.

For good measure, Durant’s defense was a major factor in the Warriors holding McCollum to 9 points after halftime.

TURNING POINT

After Portland went ahead 74-70 with 10:42 left in the third quarter, the responded with an 11-0 run to take an 81-74 lead on a reverse layup by Curry with 8:18 left in the quarter.

The Warriors kept the lead at seven (99-92) at the end of the quarter and went ahead as much as 13 in the fourth. The Trail Blazers got no closer than five in the fourth quarter.

OF NOTE

It was the 200th game of Steve Kerr’s coaching career. His record (171-29) is the best in NBA history through 200 games.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: No injuries were listed.

Blazers: G Damian Lillard (L ankle sprain) was listed as doubtful and downgraded to out 90 minutes before tipoff. C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery) was listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to the court Friday night, when they face the Memphis Grizzlies at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30.

Livingston on Kerr: 'He’s our leader ... somebody that we count on'

Livingston on Kerr: 'He’s our leader ... somebody that we count on'

OAKLAND -- Though much has been said about the agonies and challenges facing Steve Kerr, including speculation about when, or if, he’ll return as head coach of the Warriors, little has been put into words that capture the significance of his absence.

This is perhaps because it can be difficult to explain how one man is able to influence a roster of supremely talented athletes, at the wealthiest point of life, with wildly divergent personalities, at different career stages.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, a man who knows perspective as well as anyone in the NBA, took a moment Saturday to cut through the palaver and pity to offer a clear and vivid illustration of Kerr’s value as a man and as a coach.

“It’s just his presence, his personality,” Livingston began. “His character, the way he fits in with us. He’s kind of the battery pack, in the sense that he makes everybody go. He keeps us all (in harmony), everybody from staff, training staff, coaching staff to the players.

“He bridges the gaps, in the sense of communication, and he makes it light.”

In short, Kerr’s value to the franchise is far greater than his duties as a coach. He has an easy, breezy charisma insofar as he’s so comfortable submerging his own ego while being remarkably good at making everyone matter.

Moreover, Kerr is decidedly inclusive, explicitly emphatically open to ideas. He’s an outreach specialist whose sensibilities are contagious.

All of which helps create a sprightly and genial workplace, something the Warriors sought when they hired Kerr to replace the swaggering and dogmatic Mark Jackson in May 2014.

“Every day it’s something new, in a sense, and that’s hard to do,” Livingston said. “We’re here for six to nine months for the past couple years, seeing the same faces. So it is kind of like a job. But (Kerr) makes it more like a game and tries to make sure we’re enjoying ourselves out there.”

Kerr wants to live his life and coach basketball around four basic tenets: joy, mindfulness, compassion and competition. Maintaining a balance of the four can be difficult, especially when Kerr is dealing with the searing pain that has him on the sideline for an indefinite period.

But Kerr never strays far. His players seem to see and, more important, feel that.

Draymond Green and Kerr, each volatile in his own way, don’t always see eye-to-eye. Yet Green on several occasions has noted that Kerr “always seems to find the right thing to say, at the right time.”

Veteran David West points out that anyone who spends any time around Kerr can sense his basic humanity. Veteran Andre Iguodala, one of the team’s co-captains, speaks of Kerr’s curiosity and desire to broaden his horizons.

Stephen Curry, the other co-captain, kept the ball from the Warriors’ Game 4 win over Portland last Monday night, punctuating a series sweep, and gave it to Kerr, who missed Games 3 and 4 while coping with this prolonged post-surgery pain.

Lead assistant Mike Brown, the acting head coach in Kerr’s absence, concedes he has benefited from being around Kerr and this team.

“The tone he sets is the best I’ve been around,” said Brown, who has been involved in the NBA since 1992. “This is a special, special situation, and he’s big reason why.”

So it’s not just Livingston who throwing rose petals at the boss. He just happened to convey in a few words the effect Kerr has on the team and within the building.

“He’s our leader,” Livingston said. “He’s somebody that we count on.”

Warriors update health status of Livingston, Barnes

Warriors update health status of Livingston, Barnes

OAKLAND -- One day after every member of the Warriors participated in a full scrimmage, the official health updates were released.

Veteran forward Matt Barnes, out since April 8, is listed as probable for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals that begin Tuesday at Oracle Arena.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, out since sustaining a finger/hand injury in Game 1 of the first-round series against Portland on April 16, is listed as questionable -- but with an asterisk.

“Hopefully, we’ll be ready for Tuesday,” Livingston said after a light workout Saturday.

Livingston informed NBCSportsBayArea.com earlier this week that he would have been available, hypothetically, if the Warriors were facing a Game 7.

As for Kevin Durant, who missed five weeks with a knee injury before returning April 8, only to sustain a calf strain in Game 1 against the Trail Blazers, he’s fully available.