The Associated PressCHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant doesn’t often run the Warriors’ offense — certainly not with Stephen Curry on the floor.
So when he got the opportunity on Wednesday night, he relished it.
Durant had 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and Golden State beat the Charlotte Hornets 101-87 without Curry and Draymond Green.
It was Durant’s first triple-double of the season and his second since joining the Warriors.
“It’s fun when you get to create and just be creative out there, whether it’s passing to JaVale [McGee] for a lob or shooting a pull-up jump shot,” Durant said. “Tonight it felt like I could go in my bag of tools, my bag of tricks, to pull some stuff out. I don’t expect it to be like that every single game, but tonight I thought it called for it.”
Coach Steve Kerr called it a luxury to turn from one MVP to another in a time of need. He said Durant simply took over.
“It wasn’t so much a vocal leadership role, but more of an ‘I got this’ type of thing,” Kerr said.
“It was the way he carried himself. He was clearly the best player on the floor and the dominant player on the floor. Without Steph, he almost had a different bounce to his step, like ‘This one is mine, I got it.’”
Klay Thompson scored seven of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for the Warriors, who have won five straight overall and seven in a row against the Hornets. Curry will be sidelined for about two weeks with a sprained ankle, while Green is nursing a sore shoulder.
It hardly mattered.
Durant set the tone, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first quarter to help the Warriors build a 26-18 lead. The edge increased to 26 in the second quarter following back-to-back 3-pointers by Nick Young, who had 10 points.