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.


World Cup live: Portugal 1 Morocco 0

Updated 3 min 8 sec ago
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World Cup live: Portugal 1 Morocco 0

  • Cristiano Ronaldo heads in an early goal

4.20pm: Morocco have edged ahead on the possesion stakes, 51 to 49, but they need to start to make that count otherwise they are heading out of the tournament.

4.16pm: SAVE! What a save that was from Patricio to prevent Younes Belhanda from finding the bottom corner with a header. that's as close as Morocco have come.

4.11pm: How long before Herve Renard sends for striker Ayoub El-Kaabi from the bench? He has 11 goals for his country and is the top-scorer in the squad. Morocco need one badly here.

4.07pm: Ronaldo may have scored the only goal but he had the third fewest touches in the first half. Only Mehdi Benatia (21) and Goncalo Guedes (19) had fewer.

4.05pm: We're back underway at the Luzhniki Stadium and Morocco need to score and avoid defeat otherwise they are out of the World Cup.

4.02pm: Random fact but Ronaldo has five hotels in Marrakech. He was certainly made to feel welcome by the Moroccons from that fifth-minute corner.

3.50pm: 37 percent of goals at this World Cup have been scored from set-pieces. 

3.46pm: "I think Morocco have dominated the ball," says BBC Sport's Kevin Kilbane. "Portugal have been dreadful."

3.45pm: It's half-time in Moscow and Portugal lead thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's fourth-minute header. 

3.42pm: Morocco's Mehdi Benatia is the first player to be booked. He is shown a yellow card for clattering into Cristiano Ronaldo.

3.37pm: Morocco are having a good go here. They've had 49 percent of the possesion and registered six shots to Portugal's four.

3.31pm

3.30pm: "There are worse teams than Morocco at the World Cup," said BBC Sport's Terry Butcher. "They may be 1-0 down and heading out of the World Cup, but there is plenty of confidence out there."

3.27pm

3.25pm: "Morocco should be pleased with how they have responded," said BBC Sport's Martin Keown. "They have not done an awful loy wrong apart from conceding that goal,"

3.21pm: Marking Ronaldo is a two-man job. Here Achraf Hakimi and Manuel Da Costa keep tabs on the Real Madrid superstar.

3.19pm: Goals are a big problem for Morocco. The only player who has more than ten international goals to his name is Ayoub El-Kaabi and he's on the bench.

3.15pm: "Morocco have got good variation from their corners," says BBC Sport's Martin Keown. 

3.12pm: Not content with scoring 44 goals in 44 games for Real Madrid this season, Ronaldo now has four in two World Cup games. He is a machine. 

3.08pm: "That is appalling marking by Morocco," said BBC Sport's Martin Keown. "You just can't give Ronaldo that amount of room."

3.06pm: GOAL. And it's Cristiano Ronaldo, who else? He steals a march from a corner and powers in a header. Worst possible start for Morocco.

3.04pm: A real positive start from Morocco. "What a start that was with 12-13 passes from Morocco," said BBC Sport pundit Terry Butcher. "Wonderful play. It all started with a ball up to Cristiano Ronaldo, who just shrugged his shoulders."

2.59pm: The size of the task facing Morocco this afternoon is demonstrated by the fact that Ronaldo has scored 33 goals in his last 23 games for club and country and has only failed to score in five of those games.

2.52pm: "The Moroccan fans are taking their seats and are already making a significant amount of noise," reports BBC Sport's Gary Flintoff. "They are dotted throughout the stadium, but there are thousands of them grouped together behind one of the goals."

2.45pm. "Ziyech is their playmaker and he's been instrumental at Ajax," said BBC Sport's Jermaine Jenas. "Technically, he's the one they need to be going through. He's got an eye for a pass and can glide past people. There are a lot of clubs looking at him. Morocco desperately need him today if they are to get anything out of the game."

2.42pm: Mexico '86 seems a long time but that is when these two last met at the World Cup. The Atlas Lions won that one 3-1. 

2.41pm: Cristiano Ronaldo needs just one goal to move outright second in the list of all-time international scorers.

2.39pm: Morocco's Mbark Boussoufa in the zone before the match at the Luzniki Stadium.

 

 

2.38pm: "It will be a different gamplan from Morocco," said BBC Sport's Kevin Kilbane. "They are going to have to play on the back foot."

2.35pm: "This Morocco side will feel they need to come out and produce a performance after their opening defeat," said BBC Sport's Jermaine Jenas. 

2.32pm: Morocco are chasing their first World Cup win since they beat Scotland 3-0 in France. Salaheddine Bassir (2) and Abdeljalil Hadda got the goals that day.

2.29pm: Cristiano Ronaldo is again partnered in attack by Goncalo Guedes, despite the Valencia forward's unimpressive form in a 3-3 draw with Spain. Joao Mario starts in midfield replacing Bruno Fernandes. 

2.28pm: Morocco coach Herve Renard has made three changes, with forward Khalid Boutaib replacing Ayoub El Kaabi, Manuel Da Costa coming in for Romain Saiss in central defense, and defender Nabil Dirar replacing winger Amine Harit.

2.14pm: Morocco need to bounce back from their agonising defeat against Iran but Portugal, and Ronaldo in particular, pose Herve Renard's men a monumental challenge at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.
"We lost a battle but we haven't lost the war. We're not dead," said midfielder Faycal Fajr, one of 17 foreign-born players in Morocco's squad.

2.10pm: The surprise team news is that Nordin Amrabat has been passed fit for Morocco. He came off following a head injury against Iran and the feeling was he would not pass the concussion protocol.

2.09pm

It has not been the best World Cup so far for the Arab nations. Saudi Arabia were thrashed by Russia, Egypt lost late on to Uruguay, Morocco were floored by a sucker punch from Iran and then Egypt were beaten again, this time by Russia. But now Morocco have the chance to make up for that by pulling off the shock of all shocks against European champions Portugal. A win would go down as one of the biggest in their history and resuscitate their hopes of getting out of Group B. And you can follow our live coverage of the game at the Luzhniki Stadium right here, so stay tuned for our insight and opinion on events in Moscow.