Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker (15) drives on Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) during the first half of Wednesday’s game at Spectrum Center. Chuck Burton AP
Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker (15) drives on Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) during the first half of Wednesday’s game at Spectrum Center. Chuck Burton AP

Charlotte Hornets

Golden State Warriors didn’t need Stephen Curry to cruise past the Charlotte Hornets

December 06, 2017 10:29 PM

The Golden State Warriors were missing one former Most Valuable Player. Their other one more than compensated.

With Stephen Curry out the next two weeks with a sprained ankle, Kevin Durant assembled his first triple-double of the season, leading the Warriors to a 101-87 victory over the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center. This was the NBA champion Warriors’ seventh consecutive victory over the Hornets.

The Warriors (20-6) led by 26 in the first half, before the Hornets (9-14) trimmed the deficit to seven. Durant ended the game with 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Golden State shooting guard Klay Thompson added 22 points.

Kemba Walker finished with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists.

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The Hornets broke a four-game losing streak Monday, topping the Orlando Magic. The Hornets are in a span where they play 10 of 13 at home before the New Year.

Three who mattered

Durant: He scored 20 first-half points off just 13 shots from the field.

Quinn Cook: From G-League roster to starting point guard on the defending champs. Cook looked solid.

Walker: He made the best of a bad shooting night (8-of-21) with assists and rebounds.

Observations

▪  The Hornets announced Wednesday morning that coach Steve Clifford would be away from the team for an undetermined period to address his health. Clifford missed Monday’s home victory over the Orlando Magic. No specifics were provided on Clifford’s ailment, but a source told the Observer it is not heart-related.

▪  With Clifford out, associate head coach Stephen Silas again was in charge. Silas said Clifford told him to trust his own instincts on in-game decisions.

▪  With former Davidson star Curry out for the Warriors, former Duke player Cook started at point guard. Cook is playing for the Warriors on one of the NBA’s new two-way contracts.

▪  The Warriors played without All-Star forward-center Draymond Green, out with a sore right shoulder.

▪  Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky left the game in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle.

Worth mentioning

▪  The Hornets didn’t take a free throw Wednesday until about three minutes remained in the first half. Monday, they took 40 free throws against the Magic.

▪  Hornets center Cody Zeller suffered a left knee strain in the second half.

▪  Evidence of how well the Warriors play switching defense: Only six of the Hornets’ 17 first-half baskets came off assists.

They said it

“It sucks. On many levels: It hurts to not be there with your team, and from a selfish standpoint, to not do what you love. Most importantly, it sucks that you’re not healthy; everyone wants to wake up and feel good.” – Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Clifford missing games with the Hornets

“Kick A--” – What Clifford texted Hornets guard Nic Batum, in reply to telling him to feel better.

“I don’t feel like he missed a beat out there. ... Like a normal, regular game for us.” – Hornets forward Marvin Williams, on Silas filling in as coach Monday versus the Orlando Magic.

Report card

C OFFENSE: The Hornets have to score a lot at the foul line, and that wasn’t the case Wednesday.

D DEFENSE: The Hornets prioritize not giving up transition points. The Warriors scored 20 fast-break points in the first three quarters.

C+ COACHING: The Hornets didn’t quite, down 26 in the first half, cutting the deficit to 10 with 8 1/2 minutes left.

Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell

WARRIORS 101, HORNETS 87

Golden State

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Bell

20:23

0-2

0-0

5

3

0

Durant

35:55

13-28

6-6

11

2

35

Pachulia

4:31

0-1

0-0

3

1

0

Cook

22:24

3-7

0-0

3

0

8

Thompson

36:17

9-14

0-0

4

0

22

Iguodala

29:40

3-8

2-3

8

2

8

Young

20:00

3-6

2-4

1

1

10

West

19:57

3-6

0-0

3

4

6

Casspi

16:45

1-4

0-0

5

1

2

Livingston

15:33

2-5

0-0

1

1

4

Looney

11:05

1-1

0-0

2

3

2

McGee

7:30

2-2

0-0

1

2

4

Totals

240:00

40-84

10-13

47

20

101

Percentages: FG .476, FT .769. 3-Point Goals: 11-30, .367 (Thompson 4-7, Durant 3-10, Cook 2-4, Young 2-5, Casspi 0-1, Iguodala 0-3). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 15 (7 PTS). Blocked Shots: 12 (Bell 3, Durant 2, Iguodala 2, McGee 2, West 2, Casspi). Turnovers: 15 (Durant 3, Thompson 3, West 3, Looney 2, Casspi, Cook, Iguodala, Pachulia). Steals: 8 (Iguodala 3, Casspi, Livingston, Looney, West, Young).

Charlotte

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Kidd-Gilchrist

25:12

3-11

0-0

3

4

6

Williams

29:07

3-8

1-1

5

1

7

Howard

29:34

4-10

6-7

7

3

14

Batum

35:35

6-12

1-2

5

1

15

Walker

36:52

8-21

5-7

6

1

24

Lamb

19:52

3-11

0-0

6

2

6

Zeller

15:30

3-7

0-0

8

1

6

Carter-Williams

15:22

2-9

0-0

3

0

4

Graham

13:06

2-3

0-0

1

0

5

Bacon

6:26

0-1

0-0

3

0

0

Kaminsky

5:47

0-1

0-0

1

0

0

Monk

4:41

0-1

0-0

0

0

0

O’Bryant III

2:56

0-2

0-0

1

0

0

Totals

240:00

34-97

13-17

49

13

87

Percentages: FG .351, FT .765. 3-Point Goals: 6-19, .316 (Walker 3-7, Batum 2-5, Graham 1-1, Carter-Williams 0-1, Lamb 0-1, Monk 0-1, Williams 0-3). Team Rebounds: 11. Team Turnovers: 12 (12 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (Howard, Kidd-Gilchrist, Zeller). Turnovers: 12 (Batum 4, Howard 2, Lamb 2, Graham, Monk, Walker, Williams). Steals: 5 (Batum 2, Walker 2, Graham).

Golden State

26

27

26

22

101

Charlotte

18

20

30

19

87

Att.—19,334 (19,077). T—2:08.

Officials—Mike Callahan, C.J. Washington, Nick Buchert