OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Shots were contested, and so many missed the target.
The Golden State Warriors had to get defensive and grind out a win — and coach Steve Kerr appreciated that kind of push for the defending NBA champs.
Kevin Durant had 21 points and eight rebounds to help the Warriors overcome their shooting woes and beat the Miami Heat 97-80 in a rare low-scoring outing Monday night.
“It’s a good feeling to know if we focus on taking care of the basketball and playing solid defense and focus in on that end really hopefully regardless of how our offense is we’re going to be in good position to win games,” Stephen Curry said. “Tonight was kind of a testament to that.”
Draymond Green scored 18 points with a season-high four 3s to go with nine rebounds as the defending NBA champions won for the seventh time in their last eight games, including three straight in lopsided fashion on their recent road trip.
The Warriors had scored 100 points in every regular-season game since their second-to-last matchup last season, a 105-99 defeat to Utah as the regulars rested or played limited minutes ahead of the playoffs. Golden State is 3-11 over the past three seasons when held below 100 points.
“I thought it was our best defensive effort of the year,” Kerr said. “It was a grind-it-out game and I thought we did a good job of staying with it. We held them to 80 points. That’s kind of a playoff style win where you have to grind it out, nothing’s easy.”
Curry added 16 points and Klay Thompson 13. The Warriors shot just 36.8 percent and 11 for 32 from deep. Durant added six assists and three blocks, making all 10 of his free throws as the Warriors shot 22 of 24 from the line.
“I just feel that’s East Coast basketball. If we want to be a great team we’ve got to play different ways,” Durant said. “It’s a good test for us.”
James Johnson scored 21 points off the bench and Goran Dragic contributed 19 points for Miami a night after squeaking out a 104-101 road win against the Clippers.
Thompson missed his first four 3-point tries before connecting late in the first half as Golden State took a 50-37 lead into intermission. Curry was 1 for 9 in the first half and Durant 3 for 8 — and they went a combined 0 for 7 from deep — before Golden State got going a bit after halftime.
Curry was hit with a technical at the 3:20 mark of the first quarter for an elbow to Tyler Johnson while the Golden State star drove to the basket.
Both teams were cold shooting in the early going — Golden State 29.2 percent in the first quarter to 38.1 by Miami, which committed seven of its 23 turnovers in the period.
Heat center Hassan Whiteside played just 16-plus minutes, shooting 1 of 9 for three points and six rebounds and sat most of the second half.
“This is one game, he understands how important he is to our team to play at a high level, high energy level, so we’ll move on to Phoenix and look to have a much better game,” coach Erik Spoelstra said.
KERR ON GUN CONTROL
Shootings touch Kerr personally. His father, Malcolm, was murdered on Jan. 18, 1984, as the President of American University of Beirut.
Kerr offered condolences and thoughts to victims of the Texas church shooting that killed 26 — not to mention a strong message on gun control.
“It’s just awful, and that’s the prevailing sentiment from all of us today,” Kerr said. “To solve it, I think we almost have to look at it like a public health issue. Too often, I think we get caught up in political rhetoric, Second Amendment rights, NRA stuff. We have to look at this it has nothing to do with partisanship or political parties.
“This has got to be a public safety issue, a public health issue. We have to somehow get our government to cut through all the crap and get right to the point — the point of fact which is safety, which means a lot of things we can do without taking away people’s Second Amendment rights. Let’s do the sensible thing.”
Heat: Spoelstra received a technical for arguing late in the first half. … Miami lost its fourth straight on the Warriors’ home floor. … Starting G Dion Waiters is still away from the team after he returned to Miami for the birth of his daughter Sunday morning.
Warriors: C David West had a night off for rest. “It’s a routine we’re going to follow all year,” Kerr said of spelling West, Andre Iguodala and other veterans as needed. … Warriors great Al Attles is expected back at Oracle on Wednesday night, one day after his 81st birthday. Attles was hospitalized and missed a night honoring him Oct. 27. … Golden State has 10 or more 3s in all 11 games so far — something the team did 14 consecutive times last season.