Kevin Durant put the Golden State Warriors on his back during Sunday's 118-92 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 4 of their second-round playoff series, and the performance came after teammate Draymond Green sent him an inspiring text message at 4 a.m.
Chris Haynes of ESPN.com shared the news, noting Green said he sent the four-time scoring champion a "long-ass text" after Golden State dropped Game 3 by 19 points.
"I just challenged him to be who he is. I had to tell him," Green said, per Haynes. "I didn't see him attacking or being aggressive enough on both ends of the floor like we need him to be. You know, I don't hold back. When I see something's wrong, I have to voice my opinion. There were no hard feelings. We're just trying to win a ballgame."
Durant responded with a simple "I got you," and he delivered with 38 points, nine rebounds and five assists behind 15-of-27 shooting.
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It was in stark contrast to Durant's showing in Game 3, when he finished with 22 points and three rebounds.
"In short, [Draymond] said don't worry about s--t else but playing with force and being aggressive," Durant said. "And I tried to do that as much as possible today. I wasn't aggressive in Game 3, and I knew that. It's good to know that teammates got your back. It was good to hear that from him."
Durant had more room to operate inside the lane after head coach Steve Kerr moved Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup in place of JaVale McGee.
With Golden State's death lineup of Durant, Green, Iguodala, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the floor, New Orleans had to account for all that shooting, which pulled some of its players outside of the lane and opened up opportunities for Durant to attack.
He mixed in mid-range jumpers, fadeaways and drives and seemingly had an answer every time the Pelicans made any type of run.
Curry added 23 points as the only other Warrior to tally more than 13, as Durant went into takeover mode for much of the contest. The beauty of having four All-Stars in the starting lineup is anyone can go off in a moment's notice, making it almost impossible to account for everyone over the course of a game.
It was Durant's turn Sunday, and he and his teammates will look to close the series Tuesday back at home.