Kurt Helin

Kevin Durant helps Warriors bounce back, beat Pelicans 122-114

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) Kevin Durant scored 30 points, Klay Thompson added 28 and the Golden State Warriors bounced back emphatically from a surprising season-opening loss to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 122-114 on Friday night.

After scoring only six points on five shot attempts in the first half, Stephen Curry asserted himself more with an array of inside and deep shots to finish with 23 points, including a momentum-swinging 8-0 run by himself in the third quarter. Durant also had 17 rebounds.

Anthony Davis, who scored 50 points in New Orleans’ season-opening loss, finished with 45 points and 17 rebounds against Golden State, but the Pelicans struggled to trim their deficit below double digits for much of the final quarter.

Tim Frazier scored a career-high 21 points and added 10 assists for New Orleans. Lance Stephenson and Dante Cunningham each scored 15 points.

Golden State, the two-time defending Western Conference champions, dropped their season opener at home in stunning fashion, 129-100 to San Antonio. The Warriors made far easier work of the depleted Pelicans, leading by as many as 16 points and trailing for less than a minute in the second half, and by only one point in the third quarter.

The Pelicans trailed by 12 after Draymond Green‘s 3 early in the third quarter, but chipped away and briefly took the lead at 74-73 when Frazier his a driving layup that gave him 11 points in the period.

The Warriors seized momentum right back, however, when Curry scored the next eight points on a deep 3, a pair of free throws and a driving layup as he was fouled. Curry added another 3 from 30 feet a few possessions later, and wound up with 13 points in the third quarter, which ended with Golden State leading 92-81 after Andre Iguodala‘s dunk.

New Orleans got as close as 116-110 on Davis short basket with about a minute left, and had the ball with a chance to pull closer, but Durant blocked Davis’ jumper and raced the other way for a break-away layup to put it away.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Durant was called for a technical foul for shoving Stephenson to the floor after the highly animated Stephenson had fouled him. … Durant has scored at least 20 points in 66 consecutive regular season games, the longest such streak since Michael Jordan’s 69 straight in 1990-91. … The Warriors started cold from deep, hitting only one of their first seven 3-point attempts, but still led by 11 at that point. … Patrick McCaw, who hit his only shot from 3-point range, sprained his left ankle in the first half and did not return. … Green and Zaza Pachulia each grabbed 11 rebounds. Pachulia scored 10 points.

Pelicans: Davis is the first Pelicans player (dating back to the NBA’s return to New Orleans as the Hornets in 2002) to score 40 or more in consecutive games. … New Orleans missed 10 of its first 12 3s and shot only 38.8 percent (19 of 49) overall in the first half, after which they trailed 59-50. … Sixth overall draft choice Buddy Hield played 17 minutes and once again had a quiet game offensively, hitting 1 of 6 shots for two points. He also let a pass slip through his hands and out of bounds when he was wide open under the basket.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Visit Phoenix on Sunday afternoon.

Pelicans: Visit San Antonio on Saturday night.

Russell Westbrook’s 50 point triple-double first since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook had 51 points and a triple-double and scored the winning points in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 113-110 overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

According to the Thunder, it was the first 50-point triple-double since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had one in 1975. Westbrook finished with 13 rebounds and 10 assists and took a career-high 44 shots.

Westbrook made a layup to put the Thunder up a point with 7.6 seconds remaining. Phoenix’s Devin Booker missed a layup and Westbrook was fouled. Westbrook scored his 50th and 51st points at the free-throw line with 3.5 seconds remaining. Booker missed a 3-pointer as time expired.

Westbrook was 17 of 44 from the field, 2 of 10 from 3-point range and made 15 of 20 free throws.

Westbrook has 38 career triple-doubles. He scored 39 points in the second half and overtime.

T.J. Warren had a career-high 30 points for the Suns.

The Suns led by 18 in the first quarter, but Oklahoma City held Phoenix to 5-for-26 shooting in the second quarter to cut it to 53-49.

Westbrook tied it at 59 on a layup and free throw early in the third, but the Suns responded with a 12-0 run. Westbrook kept the Thunder in it with 23 points in the third quarter on 7-for- 12 shooting, but the Suns led 83-77 heading into the fourth.

Westbrook returned from a rest with 8:50 remaining and the Thunder trailing 89-81. Four minutes later, his driving layup gave the Oklahoma City a 97-96 lead. Westbrook then found Roberson open, and Roberson’s 3-pointer pushed Oklahoma City’s lead to 102-98 with 2:39 to play.

Westbrook missed several chances to put the Thunder ahead in the closing seconds of regulation, and Phoenix held on to force overtime.

TIP-INS

Suns: Coach Earl Watson played for the Thunder during the 2008-09 season. … The Suns led 31-13 in the first quarter and 40-25 at the end of the period. … Phoenix shot 69.6 percent in the first quarter and 19.2 percent in the second.

Thunder: Domantas Sabonis, a rookie, started in his first-ever regular-season home game. He finished with eight points on 4 for 6 shooting. … Backup point guard Cameron Payne sat out with a fractured right foot. … Westbrook was issued a technical in the third quarter, but it was taken away upon review. … Victor Oladipo scored 21 points.

STAT LINES

Westbrook’s averages through two games are 41.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists.

 

Kevin Durant predicts Anthony Davis will win NBA scoring title

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Before the season tipped off, the smart money to win the scoring title was on Russell Westbrook or James Harden — elite offensive players with not enough other scoring around them who would be unleashed by their coach to carry their respective teams.

Anthony Davis fits that description, too.

Kevin Durant — a five-time NBA scoring champ himself — predicts Davis will win the league’s scoring title, via Chris Haynes of ESPN.

“[Anthony Davis is] probably going to lead the league in scoring this year easily … 50 for him is a good game, and now [he’s like] move it to the next one,” Durant said. “It’s kind of a customary night for him.”

Durant said that at shootaround. Davis then went out and dropped 45 on the Warriors in a losing effort that night. Through two games Davis does lead the league in scoring, having put up 95 points in two games (Westbrook is second with 83 in his two).

If you want to read into this some kind of Durant dig at Westbrook go ahead, but Durant just may be right.

Let’s just hope Davis — who has never played more than 68 games in a season — can stay healthy enough for a full campaign to make a run at the title.

Watch Russell Westbrook’s driving game-winning layup (giving him 51)

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Russell Westbrook had his first triple-double of the season — 51 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. It’s the first 50-point triple double since 1975, when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it.

And those last points came on the game-winning driving layup.

The Thunder are 2-0 to start the season and Westbrook is putting up his MVP numbers. It’s a long campaign, but OKC fans have to love the start.

Watch DeMar DeRozan throw it down over Tristan Thompson

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There was a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals Friday night in Toronto — Cleveland came to town.

And while the result was the same — Cleveland won despite some controversy late — but the Raptors did have the highlight of the night, when DeMar DeRozan got up and threw it down on Tristan Thompson.

Insert your own “LeBron said this would happen” joke here.