Durant powers Warriors, James dominates Kings in Cleveland

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

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant looks to drive to the basket against Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist during the second half of their NBA game at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on December 6, 2017. The Warriors won 101-87.

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

The Warriors won their fifth straight and the seventh in their last 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 the Spectrum Center arena in Charlotte. He finished 13 of 28 from the field and hit 3 3-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'."

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 7 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 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 was without its 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.

Reuters

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James reaches for a rebound between Sacramento Kings guard George Hill (back) and guard Buddy Hield in the fourth quarter of their NBA game at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 6, 2017. The Cavs won 101-95.

In Cleveland, Ohio, LeBron James nailed a clutch 3-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 9 assists as the win equaled a Cleveland franchise record. 

There were about five seconds left on the shot clock when time was called with 20 seconds left and Cleveland clinging to a 2-point lead.

Coach Tyronn Lue said he intended to call a different play in the huddle, but James wanted "Chicago," a play named for James' turnaround jumper at the buzzer in Game 4 of the 2015 conference semifinals against the Chicago Bulls.

"So I said, 'OK'," Lue said. "We got it to him, and he made a big shot. That was a huge play for us to put us up by 5."

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

Elsewhere in the NBA on Wednesday, it was: Pelicans 123, Nuggets 114; Celtics 97, Mavericks 90; Timberwolves 113, Clippers 107; Knicks 99, Grizzlies 88; Bucks 104, Pistons 100; Spurs 117, Heat 105; Pacers 98, Bulls 96; Magic 110, Hawks 106 (in overtime).

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