Photo: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle
While meeting with potential suitors during free agency, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will want to show the video of the Warriors' victory 116-110 over the Magic on Monday at the Oracle Arena.
With Stephen Curry and Draymond Green still marginalized by the injuries, Durant and Thompson overcame an inspired Orlando performance despite receiving minimal support from their supporting cast. He reinforced why teams will offer those two big prizes in July to be the face of a franchise.
Durant scored a season record of 49 points, five fewer than his personal record, with nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Meanwhile, Thompson finished with 29 with five three-pointers and 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors bounced back from an 18-point deficit in the second quarter for their third straight win.
"Both were in attack mode," said Golden State head coach Steve Kerr. "They both know, especially with Steph out, that they need to be very, very aggressive, and both were, they were incredible."
When the Warriors are healthy, Durant and Thompson revel in a basketball utopia, with several All-Stars at their best working to win championships. However, most of the NBA teams, including many that could offer Durant and Thompson contracts at most, often have to depend on the greatness of one player or two players.
As a duo, Durant and Thompson have more combined talent than perhaps the two best players in any other franchise. That was evident on Monday when, after both worked early, Durant and Thompson almost wished Golden State victory.
"It's a great luxury that we have (Durant) and Klay making big shots in the final stretch," striker Kevon Looney said. "As men of role, we know that if we do our job on the defensive side and do all the little things, those guys will take us home."
Two nights after scoring 44 points in a victory over the Kings, Durant threw 3-for-9 from the field in the first quarter, only to reach 13-of-24 the rest of the way. With his team down 17 points at halftime, Durant was an attacker, scoring 16 points in the third to help cut Golden State's deficit to four early in the fourth.
Thompson, who went 4-for-13 from the field to three-quarters, finally began to settle into a rhythm in the fourth period. In just over six minutes, he poured 16 points. Thompson's 3-pointer with 5:26 left gave Golden State a 102-100 lead.
With less than two minutes to go, Durant went through two defenders, jumped on a plate while making contact, and with a grimace, turned around before hitting the free kick that followed to put the Warriors 110-107. With about 22 seconds to go, Durant hit a 3-pointer from the top of the goal to give Golden State a four-point cushion.
It was all the Warriors would need in a night that reminded the main office how much it helps to have Durant and Thompson. Although most NBA teams would collapse with two marginalized All-Stars, Golden State is thriving while Curry (left tense groin) and Green (right foot strain) watch from the bench.
That Durant and Thompson gained little support on Monday made their efforts only much more important. Out of those two, the Warriors got 38 points.
Judging by their smiles when the final whistle sounded, Durant and Thompson enjoyed their team's victory. The question is whether they would appreciate having to make that kind of effort night and night just so their team remains relevant.
"I still had 17 shots missing," Durant said, scanning the score of the box. "I feel like I had some shots that I wish I had done, the last game and this game, I just have to go back to the gym."
Connor Letourneau is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @Con_Chron