Golden State’s trio

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Three of the NBA’s all-time greatest shooters toil for the Golden State Warriors.

They are small forward Kevin Durant, point guard Stephen Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson.

Last Sunday, the trio showed their prowess as they combined for 74 points and helped power the defending champions to a 118-92 win over New Orleans in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals at the Smoothie King Center.

No. 2 seeded Golden State owns a three games to one lead and will likely face the top-seeded Houston Rockets, who are ahead 3-1 in games over the Utah Jazz after Sunday’s 100-87 victory, in the conference finals.

Spearheading the assault was Durant, last season’s NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, who scored a game-high 38 points.

“We played with more force today,’’ said Durant, who collected nine rebounds with five assists and had 20 at the half as the Warriors led 61-54. “We moved the ball around and guys were open on the perimeter.’’

Curry scored 23 points after missing 31 games during the regular season and all five in the opening round blitz of the San Antonio Spurs.

Thompson added 13 points and grabbed seven boards while power forward Draymond Green tallied eight points with nine rebounds and a game-high nine assists.

Golden State took a 14-4 lead with 8:26 left in the first quarter as Durant had six points.

The Warriors, who have won two of the last three NBA banners, moved ahead 27-10 with 3:58 showing when Green knocked down a three-pointer.

At the end of the first period, Golden State, which shot 60 percent from the field, had a 37-22 edge as Durant contributed 10 points.

Head Coach Steve Kerr was asked what was the difference between Game 4 and Game 3, a 119-100 setback.

On Sunday, Kerr opted for a shorter starting five, but said this wasn’t really important.

“We played with energy today,’’ he said of his team that shot 48.4 percent from the floor (46 of 95) compared to 36.3 percent (32 of 88) for the No. 6 seeded Pelicans. “That was the biggest difference.’’

At the half, Pelicans center Anthony Davis scored 18 of his team-best 26 points and finished with 12 rebounds.

Midway through the third frame, Durant’s trey made it 80-64 and Golden State moved in front 94-73 heading into the fourth period as Durant had 33 points.

On Friday, the Pelicans were led by Davis, a one-time University of Kentucky star who won an NCAA title in 2012, the only season he played.

Davis dropped in a game-best 33 points with a game-high 18 boards and point guard Rajon Rondo had four points, a game-best 21 assists with 10 caroms.

Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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The Sports Department Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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