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Warriors come from behind to send Suns to franchise-record 15th loss in row

OAKLAND - This is why they got Kevin Durant.

Most of the time, the Warriors don’t need him. They have Stephen Curry, who can carry the team by himself.

But, Curry isn’t always dependable. He’s small, and he gets injured. He’s injured now. Has a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee and will miss the first round of the playoffs. They need someone to carry the team while he’s out.

Enter Durant.

Sunday night, Durant led the Warriors to a 117-107 win against the Phoenix Suns. He made 12 of 19 shots, including 3 of 6 from behind the 3-point line, and finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists and 2 blocks. Almost a triple double.

“Kevin is going to be Kevin no matter what,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “He has got as much ability as pretty much anybody ever in the history of the game. This guy is so talented that if you put him out there with Steph, great. If you put him out there without Steph, great. He still is going to get any shot he wants and dominate a game. He’s just a really gifted player, and he can adapt to anything he sees.”

And he can make life easy for his teammates.

With Durant leading the way, the rest of the Warriors didn’t do too much. They were efficient. Klay Thompson made 10 of 19 shots, including 2 of 5 3s, and finished with 23 points. Quinn Cook made 7 of 11 shots, including 3 of 5 3s, and finished with 19 points, 6 assists and 3 steals. And Draymond Green made 5 of 8 shots, including 3 of 5 3s, and finished with 13 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block.

“Everybody came and contributed,” Durant said. “That’s how we’re going to have to play when Steph is out. We’re going to have to play different ways, and I think that’s the beauty of our team. We can slow it down and throw it in the post to David West, myself, Shaun (Livingston), Draymond. Or, we can play fast paced with Klay, Nick (Young), Quinn, myself as well. Each game is cause for a different style.”

The Warriors found the right style without Curry Sunday night, which is encouraging for them. But, the most encouraging news came hours before they beat the Suns: Patrick McCaw is OK.

Doctors released McCaw from the UC Davis Medical Center Sunday afternoon. He spent Saturday night in the hospital after falling on the court, landing on his back and temporarily losing feeling in his lower body.

“Preliminary X-ray, CT scan and MRI exams were all clear,” the Warriors announced. “Additionally, preliminary reviews indicate no structural injury or neural disruption. He will undergo a follow-up review with a Specialist on Thursday. At this point, the injury will be referenced as a lumbar spine contusion (secondary to the impact of a fall).”

The fall happened with 41.8 seconds left in the third quarter of the Warriors 112-96 win against the Sacramento Kings Saturday night. McCaw received a bounce pass on the baseline, and jumped to lay the ball in the hoop. As he jumped, Kings guard Vince Carter hit McCaw in the thigh. McCaw twisted and flailed in the air, but couldn’t brace himself as his back hit the hardwood floor.

“Scariest thing I have ever experienced on a basketball court,” Kerr said. “Not even close.”

Kerr said he didn’t know when McCaw would play again.

On Sunday, the Warriors were missing more than McCaw. They also didn’t have Andre Iguodala (sore left knee), Omri Casspi (sprained right ankle) and, of course, Curry.

Without them, the starting lineup consisted of Cook, Thompson, Durant, Green and Kevon Looney. A new look in preparation for the playoffs.

“I wanted to get a look at that group with Looney starting,” Kerr said. “We’re going to need all our centers. Every guy will play a role for us in the playoffs. We’ve got to be ready for different matchups, and lot of our guys do really well against certain players.”

Looney finished with five points and four rebounds.

Early in the second quarter Sunday night, the new look Warriors fell behind by 14 points, because they weren’t defending the 3-point line. They were giving the Suns free shots, or “warmup shots,” as Warriors commentator Jim Barnett described them during the television broadcast. Barnett said the Warriors were unfamiliar with the Suns, and were “caught off guard.”

Kerr had a different explanation. “It was a slow start coming off a pretty emotional night (after McCaw’s injury). The last three, four minutes of the second quarter, we started to play.”

From that point forward, the Warriors outscored Phoenix by 29 points when Durant was on the court.

This is why they got Durant.

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