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Durant steps up for Dubs

Sports Xchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was originally supposed to be Stephen Curry’s night.

But instead, the night clearly belonged to Kevin Durant.

With Curry and Draymond Green sidelined with injuries, Durant stepped into the spotlight and led the Golden State Warriors to a 101-87 victory over the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday night at the Spectrum Center.

Durant notched his ninth career triple-double, finishing with 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and seemingly taking the game into his own hands whenever he wished. He scored 16 points in the first quarter to set the tone as the Warriors led by as many as 26 in the first half.

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

Warriors coach Steve Kerr marveled at the play of Durant, especially under the circumstances.

“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. I just liked his pace, his energy. He was attacking from the start. It was like a ‘I’ve got this’ type of thing.”

Cavaliers tie mark

CLEVELAND — With the game and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ winning streak on the line, LeBron James told his coach he wanted the ball.

Who was Tyronn Lue to say no?

Lue called the play James wanted, and the Cavaliers superstar buried a 3-pointer with 16.6 seconds left to cement a 101-95 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

The win was Cleveland’s 13th in a row, tying a franchise record.

James finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and seven turnovers.

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 that beat the 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.”

Pistons edged by Bucks

MILWAUKEE — Another night, another close loss for the Detroit Pistons, whose losing streak reached a season-high four games after falling 104-100 to Milwaukee at the Bradley Center.

“We knew this stretch was coming,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We didn’t do enough of the little things (tonight). We gave up free throw rebounds, two of them, we had screw-ups on out-of-bounds plays on defense. Simple stuff that’s easy to do but we didn’t take care of.”

Andre Drummond led Detroit (14-10) with 27 points and Tobias Harris hit 8 of 14, including four 3-pointers to finish with 21.

Detroit has lost seven of its last 11, starting with a 99-95 setback at Milwaukee last month.


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