OAKLAND -- After a 38-day absence, Stephen Curry returned to the lineup Tuesday night. The Warriors are thankful he did.
With the offense struggling elsewhere, Curry scored 28 points to keep the Pelicans at bay before Kevin Durant came on to close out a 121-116 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal at Oracle Arena.
Durant poured in a game-high 29 points -- 15 in the fourth quarter -- while Draymond Green tossed in 20 points, Andre Iguodala 15 and Klay Thompson 10 as the Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Warriors overcame a 66-38 deficit in paint points by making 22-of-27 free throws, while New Orleans was 7-of-9 from the line.
STANDOUT PERFORMER: Nobody wearing a Warriors jersey did more good work, and with great efficiency, than Curry. And nobody dropped more physical and emotional sweat than Green.
Curry’s line: 28 points (8-of-15 shooting from the field, including 5-of-10 from deep, 7-of-7 from the line), seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. He played 27 minutes and was plus-26.
Green’s line: 20 points (7-of-11 from the field, 2-of-5 from deep, 4-of-5 from the line), 12 assists, nine rebounds, two blocks and one steal. He played 41 minutes and was plus-6.
TURNING POINT: Though the Warriors led by as much as eight and the Pelicans by as much as nine, the teams were never more than five points apart in the final 10 minutes.
After a Rajon Rondo 3-pointer pulled the Pelicans within one, 99-98, with 7:48 remaining, the Warriors responded with an 11-0 run, taking a 110-98 lead on a Durant fadeaway with 5:15 remaining.
The Pelicans rallied, getting as close as five, before the Warriors ran out the clock.
INJURY UPDATE: Warriors: G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain) was listed as probable and upgraded to available after morning shootaround. G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) was listed as out.
Pelicans: C Alexis Ajinca (R knee injury), DeMarcus Cousins (L Achilles rupture) and G Frank Jackson (R foot fracture) were listed as out.
WHAT’S NEXT: Game 3 is scheduled for Friday in New Orleans. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 3:30, with postgame coverage immediately after the final horn. The game telecast, on ESPN, is scheduled for 5 o’clock.