Durant sparkles in Golden State Warriors’ win
Golden State's star glad that he is being recognised for his all-round ability
Kevin Durant scored 21 points to lead six double-figure scorers for defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors, who pulled away in the third quarter to beat Utah Jazz 126-101 yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The Warriors hit 33-of-46 shots in the second half, outscoring the Jazz 42-22 in the third quarter to blow open a close game in which Durant didn't play in the fourth quarter, AFP reported.
"Utah played really physical and they played defence like we hadn't seen before," Durant said.
"We knew in the second half they would tire out because they were moving around a lot so we stayed with our offence and in the third quarter we started pulling away."
It wasn't just Durant's offensive prowess that caught the eye of the 19,596 spectators - the 257th consecutive sellout crowd at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
He also added six rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots to highlight his reputation as one of the most complete players in the NBA.
For the 10th game in a row, he has blocked at least two shots.
Two-time championship winner with Los Angeles Lakers, Mychal Thompson, was full of praise after watching Durant block five shots in a 99-92 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, tweeting that Durant "looks like Bill Russell (five-time NBA Most Valuable Player) on defence".
"It's cool that people are starting to recognize me for more than just a scorer," Durant was quoted as saying on NBC Sports.
"I've been trying to shake that rap since 2012. So, when people start to notice what you do - obviously it's not all you do it for - but you want people to appreciate what you bring to the table.
"It first starts with your teammates and coaches, and I got that from them. I feel good coming in every day knowing that they trust me on that side of the ball.
"But when fans are watching the game, anybody watching the game, you want them to see what you do.
"I try to impact the game as much as I can on both ends of the floor. Especially coming from a champ, like Mr Thompson, it means I'm doing something right. I'll take it."
Pat McCaw added a season-high 18 points off the bench while Klay Thompson and Nick Young each scored 15 points for the Warriors, who own the NBA's best record at 28-7.
Meanwhile, the Sacramento Kings' Vince Carter came off the bench to score 24 points and fellow reserve Willie Cauley-Stein added 17 points and nine rebounds to power the hosts to a 109-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
LeBron James compiled a triple-double in a losing cause with 16 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds while Kevin Love scored a team-high 23 points as every Cavalier who played also scored.
Charlotte 91 Boston 102, Indiana 94 Dallas 98, Atlanta 113 Washington 99, Chicago 92 NY Knicks 87, Minnesota 128 Denver 125 (OT), New Orleans 128 Brooklyn 113, Oklahoma 124 Toronto 107, LA Lakers 99 Memphis 109