Fri, Dec 08, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Durant leads shorthanded Warriors to victory

AFP, LOS ANGELES

The Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant, left, shoots over the Charlotte Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in their NBA game at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Kevin Durant on Wednesday finished with 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his ninth career triple-double as the undermanned Golden State Warriors defeated the Charlotte Hornets 101-87.

The Warriors won their fifth straight and the seventh in their past eight games, despite playing without superstar Stephen Curry and forward Draymond Green.

Durant had 16 points in the first quarter, quickly setting the tone for the game at Spectrum Center arena. He finished 13 of 28 from the field and hit three three-pointers.

Durant said his teammates did a good job of picking up the slack with Curry and Green out.

“I think everybody just rallied around each other, from the coaches to the players to the trainers, everybody,” Durant said. “The defense was on point tonight and we got off to a good start.”

Golden State coach Steve Kerr was impressed with the way Durant carried the team to victory.

“What a luxury to be able to just throw him the ball, especially with Steph out,” Kerr said. “He took over. It wasn’t really scripted, it was just a natural product of Steph being out, Draymond being out.”

“He was attacking from the start. It was like a ‘I’ve got this,’” Kerr added.

The Warriors cruised to a 48-22 lead in the second quarter and never trailed, improving to 20-6 on the season.

Charlotte pulled to within seven points halfway through the fourth quarter, but the Warriors built the lead back up to 16. The Warriors also got 22 points from Klay Thompson and 10 points from Nick Young.

Curry sat out the contest after suffering a sprained ankle in New Orleans two nights ago. Green was a late scratch because of a shoulder injury.

Charlotte were without coach Steve Clifford, who missed his second game with an illness.

Kemba Walker had a team-high 24 points for the Hornets, who dropped to 9-14. Nicolas Batum scored 15 and Dwight Howard had 14.

Golden State led 26-18 after one quarter, 53-38 at halftime and 79-68 after three quarters.

Elsewhere, LeBron James nailed a clutch three-pointer with 16 seconds left as Cleveland won a record-tying 13th straight game with a 101-95 win over the Sacramento Kings.

James finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as the win equaled a Cleveland franchise record.

The Cavaliers can set a franchise record win streak today against the Indiana Pacers.

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