Durant, Green help Warriors beat the Heat
Kevin Durant and Draymond Green steered the Golden State Warriors to a scrappy 97-80 victory over the Miami Heat yesterday morning (Singapore time) to give the NBA champions a fourth straight win.
Durant scored 21 points with eight rebounds while Green weighed in with 18 points and nine rebounds as the Warriors were made to work for victory by a physical Miami team at the Oracle Arena.
The win saw the Warriors improve to 8-3 in the Western Conference standings, putting them alongside leaders Houston.
Warriors duo Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry had a relatively quiet night, with Thompson scoring 13.
Curry added 16 but had an off-day with his normally reliable three-point shooting, making just two of nine attempts.
Overall, the Warriors were off-target with their shooting from the field, making just 36.8 percent of attempts.
Miami's top scorer was James Johnson with 21 points, followed by Goran Dragic who scored 19 and Kelly Olynk with 10.
The Warriors had opened up a 50-37 half-time lead but were never able to fully cut loose from a dogged Miami team.
Heat rallied to cut a 20-point deficit to just 10 points in the third quarter, but the Warriors were able to keep their opponents at arm's length for the rest of the contest.
"That's a scrappy team," Green said afterwards. "We knew coming into this game it was going to be tough, they were going to grab, they were going to hold.
"It wasn't pretty we couldn't make our shots, so we knew we had to just stick to the basics, play physical and grind out a win."
Over in Atlanta, Kyrie Irving bagged 35 points as the Boston Celtics notched their ninth straight victory with a 110-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Irving broke the 30-point barrier for the first time since joining the Celtics as Boston made hard work of edging past the 2-9 Hawks.
Boston needed a three-pointer from Irving with 1min 37sec left to subdue the Hawks, giving the Celtics a 104-103 lead.
It was the final twist of a game that saw no fewer than 25 lead changes.
Jayson Tatum also weighed in with a double-digit tally, scoring 21 points while pulling down eight rebounds.
Al Horford added 15 points while Jaylen Brown chipped in with 11 points.
Irving's decisive late three-pointer settled a wild encounter which had seen the Hawks battle back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to lead 96-95 with five minutes left on the clock.
Irving's three-pointer broke Atlanta's resistance however, to give Boston their best winning streak since the 2010 campaign.
Boston now lead the Eastern Conference with a 9-2 record. Atlanta, who had stunned Cleveland on Sunday in an upset win, are bottom of the conference at 2-9. - WIRE SERVICES