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Sport Kevin Durant leads depleted Warriors to win over Charlotte

06:20  07 december  2017
06:20  07 december  2017 Source:   sfchronicle.com

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Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors warms up against the Charlotte Hornets before their game at Spectrum Center on December 6, 2017 in In leading the Warriors to a 101-87 win over the Hornets, Durant scored a season-high 35 points to go with 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his ninth

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots between Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, left, forward Carmelo Anthony, center, and center Steven Adams during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 3, 2018.

CHARLOTTE — Blue No. 30 Warriors jerseys dotted a capacity Spectrum Center crowd Wednesday night. Those Stephen Curry fans had come to see the hometown hero, only to learn that he would be out with a sprained right ankle.

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Kevin Durant was otherworldly in the fifth game of the NBA Finals, pushing Golden State past Cleveland in Game 5 to win its second championship Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant reacts after scoring against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of Game 5 of basketball's

to win over Charlotte # KevinDurant took control in every way, securing triple-double 35 points, 11 rebounds 10 assists to lead his team to 101-87 over Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors goes to the basket against the Charlotte Hornets on December 6 2017 at Spectrum Center in

What they saw instead was Golden State’s other former MVP, Kevin Durant, reinforce that he is still one of the best players in the world. In leading the Warriors to a 101-87 win over the Hornets, Durant poured in a season-high 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his ninth career triple-double (second with Golden State).

BOX SCORE: WARRIORS 101, HORNETS 87

Klay Thompson was a worthy sidekick, chipping in 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting on a night the Warriors never trailed. Golden State has now started a road trip 5-0 for the third time in the Steve Kerr era.

Golden State shot 47.6 percent from the field, including 11-for-30 from three-point range, while forcing Charlotte into 63 misses. A Hornets team that entered Wednesday averaging 105.4 points per game was held under 90 points for just the third time this season.

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to win over Charlotte # KevinDurant took control in every way, securing triple-double 35 points, 11 rebounds 10 assists to lead his team to 101-87 over Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors looks on during the game against the Charlotte Hornets on December 6 2017 at Spectrum Center in

The Warriors ’ Kevin Durant drives past Charlotte ’s Spencer Hawes (left) and Michael Kidd- Gilchrist in the first half. Durant led all scorers with 33 to Golden State Warriors ' Stephen Curry, front, drives past Charlotte Hornets' Spencer Hawes, back, in the second half of an NBA basketball game in

For the first time since five right ankle sprains limited Curry’s 2011-12 season to 26 games, the Warriors are trying to weather an extended regular-season stretch without the face of the franchise.

Going at least two weeks without a player of Curry’s caliber would doom most teams, but Golden State is built to survive a crisis. It has three other All-Stars in their prime, including Durant, to help make up Curry’s 26.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

What was already a challenge was only made more daunting when forward Draymond Green (right shoulder soreness) and guard Patrick McCaw (nose contusion/concussion) were ruled out before tip-off. Point guard Quinn Cook, recalled hours earlier from the G League, earned his first career NBA start. Filling in for Green was rookie Jordan Bell.

Center Zaza Pachulia did not return after heading to the locker room with nagging left shoulder pain less than five minutes into the game, leaving the Warriors without three of their five regular starters. No matter. Even without the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Golden State challenged shooters, cut off driving lanes and held the Hornets to just 18 first-quarter points.

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Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant had a monster game in Game 3 in the NBA Finals when his star teammates were struggling in the NBA Finals With the Warriors “Splash Brothers” backcourt in major struggle mode, Durant put up one of the best postseason performances of his career -- and in

Golden State Warriors ' Kevin Durant (35) reacts after scoring a basket against the Dallas Mavericks in the second half of an NBA game against the Dallas The Warriors ’ also secured a season-high eighth consecutive victory with Durant leading the way. “Nothing’s really changed. He plays the same way

Curry’s absence paved the way for Durant, a future Hall of Famer in his own right, to settle in as the Warriors’ unquestioned leader. At one point late in the first, Durant (16 points) was outscoring Charlotte (12). The eight-time All-Star appeared uninhibited, picking apart the Hornets with a blend of one-on-one isolation plays and spot-up jumpers, as he powered Golden State to a 26-point, second-quarter lead.

It was a feel-good outburst from a player who has been uncharacteristically inconsistent in his second season with the Warriors. Typically one of the league’s more poised All-Stars, he has been ejected three times this season, including twice in three games entering Wednesday. Durant is on pace for a career-high in turnovers.

The Hornets jolted out of their early malaise, outscoring Golden State in the third quarter and trimming their deficit to seven points midway through the fourth, before the Warriors finally pulled away for good. Fans began to file toward the exits after Andre Iguodala converted an And-1 layup with less than five minutes left to put the Warriors up 95-80.

The Warriors have now won the two games they’ve played without Curry by a combined 24 points. Luckily for them, they have Durant to shoulder the load in Curry’s absence.

Connor Letourneau is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @Con_Chron

Thompson, Durant lead injured Warriors to 10th straight win .
Klay Thompson scored 27 of his 29 points in the first half and made his first nine field goals, leading the undermanned Golden State Warriors past the Memphis Grizzlies 97-84 on Wednesday night for their 10th straight win. BOX SCORE: WARRIORS 97, GRIZZLIES 84Kevin Durant added 22 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots as defending champion Golden State was down five regulars again, including two-time MVP Stephen Curry out for his sixth straight game with a sprained right ankle.Thompson shot 10 for 16 overall and didn't miss until a 3-point try with 6:10 left before halftime.

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