Kurt Helin

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Three things we learned Thursday: Kevin Durant may be human, Warriors roll anyway

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Just four games on the slate Thursday night, but if you were busy tickling rats here is what you would have learned watching NBA games…

1) Kevin Durant is human, but Warriors offense just keeps on rolling anyway. We knew that with Kevin Durant getting added to a lineup that already had Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and the most firepower in the league, he was going to have nights where he just wouldn’t put up jaw-dropping numbers — and it wouldn’t matter.

That happened Thursday night — Durant “only” had 18 points on a night he was 1-of-7 shooting outside the paint. That ended his streak of 20-point scoring games at 72. Which is still just a ridiculous number and tied Michael Jordan for fourth all time (the record is 126 by Wilt Chamberlain, a man who scored at will on and off the court). Still, this is what qualifies as an off night for Durant.

And it didn’t matter because Stephen Curry’s ankle was fine (Steve Kerr almost rested him), he dropped 33 with seven threes, and the Warriors blew out the Nuggets 125-101. Curry was just being Curry (and his shot chart was an analytic dream night, with 16-of-17 shot attempts being either threes or at the rim, just one midrange jumper).

In a development as surprising as the Browns losing a football game, the Warriors have taken over the top spot in NBA offensive rating — they are scoring 111.8 points per 100 possessions after this win, which puts them in front of Cleveland and Boston for the top spot (but still just slightly off their 112.5 per 100 pace of last season). On offense, the Warriors are figuring it out fast. Defensively they have not yet been consistent, but they had a good night against a solid Denver team Thursday, doing it while on the second night of a back-to-back. The Warriors may be figuring out how to assemble Voltron.

2) Dwyane Wade goes home, picks up some love and a win. It may gnaw at the gut of Pat Riley, but fans in Miami love Dwyane Wade — and they let him know it Thursday night as he returned to American Airlines Arena  in a Chicago Bulls uniform. Wade showed the hometown fans some flashes of what they miss.

However, this night reminded everyone why Wade should be rested on the second night of back-to-backs — 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting, 0-of-4 from three. The difference Thursday night was Wade had help in the form of Jimmy Butler, who had eight of his 20 in the fourth, while the Bulls defense held Miami to 39 percent shooting in the fourth (despite strong efforts from Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson). Thanks to that Chicago came out with the win and improved to 5-4 on the young season.

3) New Orleans wins! New Orleans wins! This game was fun because Anthony Davis (32 points) and Jabari Parker (33 points, with more than half of his shots uncontested somehow) put on a show.

The difference was Davis got some help — E’Twaun Moore had 20 points, while Tim Frazier put up 15 points and 10 assists. For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 17 points and 10 boards (however five fouls made him a useless defender down the stretch), but take Paker and the Greek Freak out of the equation and the Bucks shot just 40.8 percent. That’s two games in a row the Bucks have let a team secure its first win of the season against them, which is not a good look.

Watch Stephen Curry drop 33 on Nuggets with seven three pointers

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Stephen Curry was doing Stephen Curry things again.

He had 14 points in the first quarter, then matched it with 14 in the third. He was on his way to 33 points on the night, including seven threes, as the Warriors ran away from the Nuggets 125-101. And it wasn’t that close.

The Warriors were rolling — except for Kevin Durant. He “only” had 18 points in the game, ending his streak of 20-point games at 72 — tying Michael Jordan’s streak (fourth-longest in NBA history). If the Warriors keep winning like this, Durant will not care.

Anthony Davis scores 32, Pelicans beat Bucks 112-106 for first win

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry wasn’t about to worry about his team’s flaws after its first victory of the season.

Anthony Davis hit a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left and scored 32 points, and the Pelicans ended their winless start after eight games by beating the Milwaukee Bucks 112-106 on Thursday night.

“Are you kidding me, we were 0-8 and fighting for our lives,” Gentry said. “Everything that we’ve done in some kind of way had gone bad.

“To be able to finish the game and come away with a win, it’s relief,” he said. “We’re not going to say it was just another game.”

The Philadelphia 76ers (0-7) are the remaining winless team in the NBA.

“We’ve been working hard and playing our butts off, and tonight we just got one,” Davis said. “We needed everyone tonight to get this win.”

Jabari Parker scored a season-high 33 points for Milwaukee, which lost its second straight game to a team that was winless. In their last game Sunday, the Bucks fell 86-75 in overtime to Dallas, which was 0-5 coming into that game.

“We were in this situation in Dallas,” Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said. “They hadn’t won a game either and they were desperate. New Orleans was desperate, and they found a way to win a game.”

E'Twaun Moore added 20 points for New Orleans, playing its third game in four nights.

Milwaukee used a late 9-4 run to pull within 108-105 on Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s three-point play with 40 seconds to go.

Matthew Dellavedova made a free throw to cut the New Orleans lead to 108-106, but Davis converted both free throws to make it a two-possession game.

Mirza Teletovic missed a running 3-point attempt with 6 seconds left, and Tim Frazier hit a pair of free throws to close the scoring.

Frazier had 15 points, 10 assists and five rebounds for New Orleans. Four of the Pelicans starters scored in double figures.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: F Cheick Diallo was sent to the Austin Spurs of the NBA Developmental League. Diallo was the 33rd overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. … New Orleans led the entire second half.

Bucks: The first steel column went up this week during construction of the team’s new arena. … Parker made 13 of 26 shots, including a thunderous dunk on a pass from Dellavedova in the third quarter. … Dellavedova had 12 assists, one shy of his career high. … Starting C Miles Plumlee played 11 minutes, all in the first half, and all three of his shots were blocked by Davis.

CHARITY STRIPE

The Pelicans have had trouble making free throws this year at 73 percent coming into the game, but made 25 of 27 against the Bucks. “We’ve had close losses and have missed 13 foul shots (in a game) and 12 foul shots,” Gentry said. “In those situations, you can’t afford to do that. Tonight, we stepped to the line and shot them great.”

ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOUBLE

Antetokounmpo had 17 points, 10 rebounds and one assist in 35 minutes, his second double-double of the season. He picked up two early fouls against Dallas on Sunday and never got into a rhythm, and was charged with his fifth foul with 5:53 left in the fourth quarter against the Pelicans. He didn’t return until there was 2:40 left in the game and was unable to rally his team to victory.

A TYPICAL ROOKIE

Through the Pelicans’ first nine games, Buddy Hield was averaging nine points, making only 33 of his first 96 shots (34 percent). Gentry calls Hield, the sixth overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, “a typical rookie. He’s trying to feel his way. He’s had some good games for us and he’s had some struggles.”

 

Watch Bucks’ Jabari Parker’s powerful alley-oop finish

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It was a rough night for the Bucks, who had no answer for Anthony Davis (32 points) and couldn’t keep the Pelicans for picking up the first win of the season.

But Jabari Parker had the highlight of the game with this alley-oop finish.

Parker had 33 points and nine points on the night, along with nine boards. But Davis had more help — E'Twaun Moore had 20 — and New Orleans finally is in the win column.

Cavaliers do mannequin challenge with Michelle Obama in White House

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We said it before: The Cavaliers enjoyed meeting President Barack Obama and all, but they had a lot more fun with First Lady Michelle Obama.

That included doing the mannequin challenge.

And it’s well done, credit to the Cavaliers crew for putting some very White House-style music in the background and pulling off an excellent one.

Our very own @cavs #mannequinchallenge @whitehouse

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