Durant scores 50 points as Warriors eliminate Clippers
AUSTRALIAN Andrew Bogut lost his starting position but it did not matter as his Golden State Warriors teammate Kevin Durant dropped 50 points to finally eliminate the Los Angeles Clippers from the NBA play-offs.
The Warriors won 129-110 on Saturday (AEST) in LA to clinch the first-round series 4-2.
It sets up a tantalising Western Conference semi-finals series against James Harden's Houston Rockets.
Game one is in Oakland on Monday (AEST).
The Warriors, the Western Conference's No.1 seed, were expected to have little trouble with the eighth-seeded Clippers, but the underdogs grabbed two wins on their opponents' home court.
In game two the Clippers achieved the biggest comeback in NBA play-off history by erasing a 31-point lead to shock the defending champions.
Bogut, signed by the Warriors after his recent NBL stint with the Sydney Kings, became the starting centre after All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins suffered a potentially season-ending leg injury in game two.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr relegated Bogut to the bench for the crucial game six after the smaller, more aggressive Clippers won game five.
Guard Shaun Livingston took Bogut's starting position.
It appeared to backfire with the Clippers taking an 18-8 lead in the first quarter, but Durant found his range and ended the Clippers' season.
Durant had 38 first-half points, tying for the second most in play-off history and just short of the record 39 that Sleepy Floyd sank, also for the Warriors, in 1987.
Durant connected with 15 of 26 field goals for his 50.
Kerr used four other bench players before eventually going to Bogut at the start of second quarter.
The Australian registered four points, one rebound and one assist in just six minutes on the court.
Livingston had only two points and four assists while Steph Curry added 24 points and Klay Thompson had an off night with nine points.
Curry sent a scare through the Warriors when he rolled his right ankle in the first quarter, but he played the entire game.
Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari led his team with 29 points and five rebounds.