OAKLAND, Calif. >> Another spectacular passing performance earned Steve Kerr’s postgame praise, yet there was little else the coach liked about his “heavy-legged,” December-weary Warriors after an exhausting road trip.
Klay Thompson scored 25 points, JaVale McGee added a season-best 17 and Golden State beat the undermanned New York Knicks 103-90 on Thursday night.
But at the end of an emotional day for the NBA, news of the death of good friend and colorful sideline reporter Craig Sager made it hard for Kerr and everybody else on the court to focus on basketball.
“Craig’s death and the news today far outweighs anything that happens in the gym,” Kerr said.
Kevin Durant had 15 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, and Stephen Curry pulled down a season-high 10 rebounds to go with eight points and eight assists against a New York team missing stars Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose.
“We kept the ball moving and made them chase the ball all night and got layups,” Durant said. “And we didn’t really shoot the ball that well.”
The Warriors had 36 assists on their initial 36 baskets — 26 in the first half — and all 11 players who appeared in the first half scored in Golden State’s fifth straight win over New York. The Warriors wound up with 41 assists and held a 57-49 rebounding advantage.
Justin Holiday had 15 points off the bench for the late-arriving Knicks, whose second bus was delayed coming from San Francisco in a downpour.
New York couldn’t overcome a slow start from the field, going 4 for 15 to fall behind in a hurry. The Knicks shot 40.9 percent overall and 5 for 21 from 3-point range.
“They’re running in transition, they’re throwing up 3s, they’re hitting open guys and playing fast,” Knicks guard Courtney Lee said. “You can get caught up in that, and that’s not our style of game.”
Golden State had its third game this season with 40 or more assists, the first team to do that since the Chicago Bulls in 1996-97. The Warriors had a franchise-record 47 assists Nov. 23 against the Lakers.
“That’s the beauty of our team — we don’t worry about the numbers,” Thompson said. “When we move the ball, whoever’s open, shoot the ball.”
Knicks: Anthony said he bruised his shoulder diving for a ball against the Lakers on Sunday in Los Angeles. Rose had a sore lower back. Both might need a couple more days of rest. … New York, which hosts the Warriors on March 5, has been swept in the season series the past two years and hasn’t won a season series against Golden State since 2000-01.
Warriors: An MRI on C Zaza Pachulia’s injured right wrist showed a bruise. He missed his fourth straight game. … Golden State had more than 30 assists for the 19th time. … F David West bruised his right hip early in the fourth and didn’t return. He will have an MRI on Friday. … Curry sported special “Oakland Strong” sneakers in tribute to the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire Dec. 2 nearby in Oakland — with the footwear featuring initials of the 36 lives lost. He posted a photo on Twitter of another colorful pair and has plans to auction them both off to aid fire relief.
SAGER STRONG, “MOMENT OF JOY”
Kerr — wearing a colorful, Sager-inspired tie — took the microphone before tipoff, invited the Knicks to join Golden State and offered a heartfelt tribute to Sager. Rather than a moment of silence, he said it was more fitting in Sager’s honor to hold “a moment of joy.”
And the sellout crowd stood for a prolonged ovation and extended applause.
The beloved sideline reporter died from leukemia at age 65.
“He was an amazing guy. The courage that he showed the last few years was incredible in his fight,” Kerr, the reigning NBA Coach of the Year, said of his former TV colleague. “It’s just a tough day. … He had a spirit and an energy that very few people I’ve ever met possess.”
At halftime, Durant, Draymond Green and Thompson received their USA Basketball Olympic champion rings from their winning run in Rio de Janeiro.
Knicks: At Denver on Saturday looking to snap an eight-game road losing streak to the Nuggets and a three-game skid overall.
Warriors: Host Portland on Saturday in a rematch of last season’s Western Conference semifinal and seeking a fourth straight victory over the Trail Blazers.