LOS ANGELES, United States, Oct 27 – Kevin Durant scored 25 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter as the NBA champion Golden State Warriors manhandled the New York Knicks 128-100 Friday at Madison Square Garden.
“I just tried to be aggressive and score,” Durant said. “I thought our third quarter was pretty bad. I tried to give us a spark by scoring in the fourth and it got us going.”
Durant said being the defending NBA champions means every other team is trying to knock you off that lofty perch.
“They challenged us tonight. It’s better to be the hunted and get everybody’s best game. It brings out the best in us,” Durant said.
He finished 17 of 24 from the floor, including five of nine from three-point range, and seized nine rebounds.
Durant said his pre-game preparation was just the way he likes it.
“I want to shoot good shots and shoot the shots I practice every day and shoot them with confidence. I want to prepare right before the game so I can come out here and be myself when the lights turn on.”
Durant could become a free agent at the end of the season and the Knicks are considered to be one of the teams interested in wooing him.
He received a loud ovation when he was introduced and there’s a billboard on a building near the famed arena urging him to sign with the Knicks.
Golden State outscored New York 47-16 in the fourth quarter.
Stephen Curry added 29 points and sank six 3-pointers, giving him at least five from beyond the arc in every game this season.
Curry delivered his career best performance of 54 points at Madison Square Garden in 2013.
Tim Hardaway scored 24 points for the Knicks, who have dropped five in a row after a season-opening win over Atlanta.
Frank Ntilikina scored 17 points and Trey Burke had 15 for the Knicks, who jumped out to a 16-10 lead.
Elsewhere, Kyle Lowry finished with 20 points and 12 assists as Toronto added to their perfect start with a 116-107 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points and Toronto set a franchise record with its sixth straight win to start the season.
“He’s really good,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse of Lowry. “Each year that goes by, he starts being able to pick out things and see it more clearly.”
Toronto has now surpassed the 5-0 start they compiled in the 2015-16 season.
Lowry has recorded 10 or more assists for a career-best fourth straight game and is the first Toronto player to achieve this since Jose Calderon had five in a row six years ago.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 17 points, Danny Green had 15 and Serge Ibaka finished with 11.
DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Mavericks, who trailed by 17 points in the first quarter. Luka Doncic scored 22 points, and Wesley Matthews had 21 in the loss.
Also, the Los Angeles Clippers took advantage of a missing James Harden to easily beat the struggling Houston Rockets 133-113.
Montrezl Harrell scored a career-high 30 points off the bench to help the Clippers rout the short-handed Rockets who fell to 1-4 on the season.
Without Harden, Houston had to rely on ageing journeyman Carmelo Anthony who led the Rockets with 24 points. It was the Clippers’ second win this season over the Rockets, who played without Harden due to a hamstring injury.
Chris Paul had 12 points and eight assists against his former team in his return after being slapped with a two-game ban for a heated fight with Los Angeles Lakers player Rajon Rondo.