In a point forward role, Kevin Durant took control of the offense in every facet, securing his first triple-double of the season by way of 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead his team to a 101-87 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night at Spectrum Center.
The 6-foot-11 forward also chipped in with two blocks. He is the 15th player in Warriors history to record multiple triple-doubles with the franchise.
“Obviously, we relied heavily on KD,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I mean, he had a triple-double and 35 points. I mean, what a luxury to be able to just throw him the ball with Steph and Draymond [Green] out and Zaza [Pachulia] as well … KD took over.”
Golden State (20-6) is 2-1 on the season without Curry and one win away from sweeping a six-game road trip.
“It’s fun when you get to create and be creative out there, whether it’s passing to JaVale [McGee] for a lob or shooting a pullup or a jump shot — all the stuff that you work on in those situations,” 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.”
Klay Thompson supplied 22 points and was 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. The sharpshooter hit a 3-pointer in his 80th consecutive regular-season game, good for the fourth-longest 3-point streak in NBA history.
Green (shoulder soreness) and Patrick McCaw (concussion protocol) had the evening off. Quinn Cook and Jordan Bell started at point guard and power forward. Cook drained two 3s and scored eight points, and Bell grabbed five rebounds and swatted a game-high three blocks.
“I knew Quinn would play well,” Kerr said. “He’s an NBA player.”
Durant, who has been ejected three times this season, said he had to keep his attitude in check for the betterment of the team given that they aren’t at full strength.
Kevin Durant tosses an alley-oop pass to JaVale McGee, who finishes with a monster one-handed dunk.
“It was a couple times where I feel like I could have gone over the edge with the refs, and I just kept my cool,” he said, “and I think that was step in the right direction, and I think my teammates fed off of that.”
The Hornets never led in the game and were down by as many as 26. They cut the margin to seven at the halfway point of the fourth quarter but couldn’t gain any more ground. The home team was held to 35 percent shooting.
“Even without those other guys, they’re still pretty good,” Hornets associate head coach Stephen Silas said. “Obviously, with Kevin Durant and Klay, it was hard to stop those guys tonight.”
The Warriors have defeated the Hornets seven consecutive times, with the past four contests won by double-digits. The Warriors accumulated 26 assists on the night, snapping their seven-game streak of dishing 30 or more assists.
Zaza Pachulia left the game with left shoulder soreness four minutes in. He did not return. David West started the second half. Durant said that when Pachulia went out, he knew he had to do a little more around the glass.
“It wasn’t so much vocal leadership,” Kerr said of Durant. “It was an ‘I got this’ type thing with the way he carried himself. Clearly the best player on the court, the dominant player on the floor, and I think he showed, without Steph in particular, he almost had a different bounce to his step. … He was brilliant.”
Kemba Walker had a team-high 24 points for Charlotte (9-14). Cody Zeller suffered a left knee strain in the third quarter and did not return.
The Detroit Pistons are the defending champs’ next opponent on Friday. The Warriors under Kerr have gone 5-0 on a trip for the third time. They have never gone 6-0.
“It’s the hardest game of the trip because you look forward to going home so badly,” Thompson said, “but we have to lock in for 48 minutes and realize that Detroit’s a tough team and not going to lay it down because we’re 5-0.”