Durant powers Warriors to fifth straight NBA game win

Kevin Durant, right, of the Golden State Warriors tries to keep the ball from Nicolas Batum of the Charlotte Hornets during their game at Spectrum Center on December 6 in North Carolina. (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2017
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Durant powers Warriors to fifth straight NBA game win

LOS ANGELES: 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. 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’.”
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 was without their 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-tieing 13th straight game with a 101-95 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
James finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and nine 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 two-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 four 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 five.”
The Cavaliers can set a franchise record win streak on Friday against the Indiana Pacers.
In New Orleans, DeMarcus Cousins had 40 points and 22 rebounds and Jrue Holiday tallied 27 points and seven assists to lift the New Orleans Pelicans to a 123-114 win over the Denver Nuggets.
The Pelicans, who were playing without forward Anthony Davis, erased an early 10-point deficit by getting the ball inside to Cousins.
Davis missed his third straight game with a strained adductor.
Cousins finished just short of his season high with 41 points and 23 rebounds he recorded in a 114-106 road victory over Sacramento on October 26.
The Nuggets were led by Gary Harris with 24 points, but they dropped to 3-9 on the road.
The Pelicans put the game out of reach with a 13-0 run in a three-minute span in the fourth quarter to take a 114-96 lead with 6:38 left.


Arsenal, Chelsea win in Europa League as Rangers hold Villarreal

Aubameyang opened the scoring in London after 32 minutes of the Group E encounter. (Reuters)
Updated 21 September 2018
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Arsenal, Chelsea win in Europa League as Rangers hold Villarreal

  • I think we played well in the first half and in the beginning of the second as well: Aubameyang
  • Chelsea made a winning start to their Group L campaign as Willian's seventh-minute effort was enough to see off PAOK

PARIS: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice as Arsenal defeated Ukraine's Vorskla Poltava 4-2 in the Europa League on Thursday, while in-form Chelsea began their campaign with a 1-0 win away to PAOK in Greece.
Aubameyang has struggled to hit top gear in the Premier League so far with just one goal in five starts, but the Gabon striker opened the scoring in London after 32 minutes of the Group E encounter.
Danny Welbeck nodded in a second just after half-time and Aubameyang curled in the Gunners' third, with Mesut Ozil also on target before a lapse in concentration saw Vorskla hit back with two late goals.
"I think we played well in the first half and in the beginning of the second as well," Aubameyang told BT Sport.
"We have to improve and try to fight not to concede a goal like we did in the last minute."
Premier League leaders Chelsea made a winning start to their Group L campaign as Willian's seventh-minute effort was enough to see off PAOK at a hostile Toumba Stadium.
Eden Hazard was omitted from the Chelsea squad at his own request due to fatigue, but manager Maurizio Sarri fielded a strong side as the Blues extended their winning run to six games in all competitions.
"We were in control of the match for 90 minutes. We had a lot of opportunities. We missed them and so I'm very happy with the three points, very happy with the performance, but not very happy with the result," said Sarri.
"When it's time to kill the match, we have to kill the match."
Steven Gerrard's Rangers acquitted themselves well on their first appearance in the group stage of a European competition since the 2010-11 Champions League, as they came away with a 2-2 draw against Villarreal.
A disastrous start for the Glasgow side saw Carlos Bacca fire Villarreal ahead inside 60 seconds, but Scott Arfield turned home a cross from Daniel Candeias to level on 67 minutes.
Gerard Moreno put the hosts back in front almost immediately, only for Kyle Lafferty to again hit back for Rangers as Gerrard's men made a solid start in Group G.
Leigh Griffiths hit a late winner for Celtic in a 1-0 home victory over Rosenborg, a team Brendan Rodgers' side knocked out in this season's Champions League qualifying rounds.
Salzburg triumphed in the clash of Red Bulls in the other Group B fixture as Fredrik Gulbrandsen scored a minute from time to give the Austrian club a 3-2 victory over RB Leipzig.
Marseille, last season's runners-up, slumped to a 2-1 home defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt in Group H as Luka Jovic grabbed an 89th-minute winner for the reigning German Cup champions.
Lucas Ocampos opened the scoring early for Marseille, who were playing behind closed doors at the Stade Velodrome after numerous crowd incidents last season.
But Lucas Torro levelled on 52 minutes for Eintracht before Jovic's late strike won it.
Dudelange, the first Luxembourg team to play in the Europa League group stage, made seven-time European champions AC Milan work hard for a 1-0 win in Group F.
Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were in the crowd as Dudelange, who have a dozen non-professional players in their squad, succumbed to a deflected second-half goal by Gonzalo Higuain.
Record five-time winners Sevilla launched their Group J campaign with a 5-1 rout of Standard Liege, as Ever Banega and Wissam Ben Yedder both netted twice for the Spaniards.