NEW ORLEANS — Kevin Durant had 38 points and nine rebounds and Golden State soundly defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 118-92 on Sunday to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
The Warriors responded to their 19-point loss in Game 3 with a resounding effort that produced a wire-to-wire win with leads as large as 26 points.
Durant made 15 of 27 shots. Stephen Curry scored 23, Klay Thompson added 13 and Quinn Cook, who was a Pelicans reserve earlier this season, contributed 12 points.
Anthony Davis had 26 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans, but the Pelicans hit only 36 percent (32 of 88) of their shots, missing 22 of 26 3-point attempts.
E’Twaun Moore scored 20 and Jrue Holiday 19, but New Orleans reserves combined for just 14 points after scoring 32 two nights earlier. Rajon Rondo finished with 11 rebounds, but the Pelicans also committed 19 turnovers, which led 21 Warriors points.
After shooting poorly for much of their loss on Friday night, the Warriors were eager to regain their rhythm and did so immediately. They hit six of their first eight shots, with Durant making his first three, and Thompson and Curry each making 3s. That, and solid defense that included Green’s block of Rondo’s layup, helped Golden State open up a 10-point lead before the game was four minutes old.
The Pelicans, meanwhile, missed eight of their first 10 shots, and trailed 20-6 after Green made Golden State’s fourth 3 of the game’s first six minutes.
The Warriors led by as many as 18 in the first half when Cook’s floater made it 33-15 late in the first quarter.
The Pelicans shot 37 percent in the first half, but with good rebounding and free-throw shooting, they managed to slowly grind the Warriors’ lead down to a seemingly manageable seven by halftime, only to have Golden State storm out of the gate in the third quarter.
Rondo’s bounce pass uncharacteristically handcuffed Davis as he cut to the hoop for what looked like a thunderous dunk in the making. Moments later, Durant was taking a cross-court pass from Green in transition and throwing down a soaring one-handed jam.
Andre Iguodala and Curry followed with 3s soon after, and in a mere two minutes, the Warriors’ lead had ballooned to 15.
The Warriors continued to pull away and led 94-71 after Iguodala hit Golden State’s ninth 3 of the game late in the period. The gap never narrowed closer than 19 points after that.
Warriors: Coach Steve Kerr went with a different starting lineup for a third consecutive game. Green moved to center after starting at forward in Game 3, center JaVale McGee returned to a reserve role and Iguodala, who’d started games 1 and 2, returned to the first unit at forward. ... Curry played in his 78th career playoff game, passing Jeff Mullins for the third-most postseason games played in Warriors history. Only Thompson (90) and Green (89) have played more. With his fourth rebound, Green became the third player in Warriors history to reach 800 career playoff rebounds. Wilt Chamberlain (922) and Nate Thurmond (896) are the only others. ... Green was assessed his first technical foul of the playoffs, arguing with officials after he fell to the floor on a Davis layup and no foul was called.
Pelicans: Davis committed six turnovers and Rondo four. ... Davis shot 10 of 10 from the foul line. ... The Pelicans made 18 of 19 free throws in the first half and finished 24 of 30. ... Nikola Mirotic grabbed 11 rebounds but missed six of seven shots to finish with seven points.
The series returns to Oakland, California, for Game 5 on Tuesday night.