OAKLAND — On a night when Kevin Durant scored his 20,000th point in the NBA, the Warriors lost to the makeshift Los Angeles Clippers 125-106.
The Warriors were missing their starting backcourt — Klay Thompson had the night off and Stephen Curry was out with a sprained right ankle. And Durant was playing only on a limited basis.
But the Clippers were missing players, too. Four of their starters were injured. Forward Blake Griffin was out with a concussion, forward Danilo Gallinari was out with a left glute injury and guards Austin Rivers and Patrick Beverley were out with ankle injuries. The only regular starter who played for the Clippers was center DeAndre Jordan.
On the television broadcast, Warriors analyst Jim Barnett said the Clippers are “like an expansion team.” Their record coming into the game was 18-21.
The Warriors led 81-72 with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter. Then, Clippers guard Lou Williams simply took over. He scored the Clippers’ next 17 points, scored 29 points total in the third quarter and 50 points in the game.
“We let him go wherever he wanted,” Durant said. “He ordered 50-piece nuggets on us tonight. If somebody scores 50 on you the way he did, you’ve just got to pay homage and move on.”
Coming into the game, Durant was 25 points away from scoring 20,000 in his career. Durant reached 25 before halftime.
With 1:41 remaining in the second quarter, Durant swished a 22-foot two-point jumper for his 20,000th career point. After the shot went in the basket, Durant waved to the crowd as fans stood and applauded.
Durant is the second-youngest player ever to score 20,000 points, behind Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, and the 44th-leading scorer in league history, one behind former Warriors forward Antawn Jamison.
Wednesday night was Durant’s first game back since he injured his right calf Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks. Out of precaution, the Warriors restricted his playing time against the Clippers. He played 31 minutes and scored 40 points.
“My shot felt good,” Durant said. “We were missing Steph and Klay, and our offense is designed for them to free everybody up and for us to go on runs by making threes. I knew Coach was going to call my number a bit there. I just tried to make good shots. They kept falling and I just stayed aggressive.”
Curry missed the game after spraining his right ankle during shootaround Wednesday morning.
“Didn’t see anything,” head coach Steve Kerr said before the game. “We just had a normal shootaround. He was (doing) his usual game-day routine, and he just rolled his ankle somehow. Just kind of a fluke thing. Caught us off guard.”
Curry has history of injuring his right ankle. He had surgery on it in 2011 after tearing ankle ligaments. He had surgery on it again in 2012 after spraining it multiple times and playing only 26 games during the 2011-2012 season. He sprained it again Dec. 4 against the New Orleans Pelicans and missed the next 11 games. He returned Dec. 30 against the Memphis Grizzlies, played the next five games and scored 176 points.
Now, his ankle is injured again.