OAKLAND, United States (AFP) – Kevin Durant scored 25 points as the Golden State Warriors powered into the Western Conference playoff semi-finals with a 4-1 series victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.
The reigning NBA champions, jolted by the Spurs in game four on Sunday, booked their place in the next round with a nervy 99-91 win in front of the home fans at the Oracle Arena.
The Warriors will now face the New Orleans Pelicans for a place in the conference finals.
However Golden State was given a scare after a late fourth quarter rally from San Antonio that threatened to take the best-of-seven series to a game six.
The Spurs chipped away at a double-digit Golden State lead to close to at 93-91 with 57 seconds left on the clock.
But Durant delivered when it mattered with a superb fadeaway jump shot and two free throws to take Golden State clear again as the clock ticked down.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the Spurs’ battling performance bore the hallmark of counterpart Gregg Popovich, who again was missing from the San Antonio bench following the death of his wife from a long illness last week.
“That was a big-time fight. We’re lucky to get out of here,” Kerr said. “They’re a championship organization and they’ve been doing this for a long time. They’re a reflection of their coach.”