From Comcast SportsNetOKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant is determined to become known as more than a one-dimensional player.He took a big step in that direction Sunday night.Durant notched his first career triple-double with 25 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Golden State Warriors 119-109."I really didn't care, to be honest. If it came, then that's cool. If it didn't, then just keep playing," Durant said. "It feels good to get one. Now, I guess I've got a little monkey off my back. I can just go out there and play."Durant has endured some growing pains this season trying to improve his floor game, with a bump in his assist numbers coinciding with an increase in his turnovers, too. He came in averaging four turnovers per game, the fourth-worst in the league.But after ending up with more turnovers than assists in each of his first five NBA seasons, Durant is starting to reverse that trend this season. He's also grabbing about two more rebounds per game than any other time in his career."There's going to be nights where I have to score 30. There's going to be nights where I have to have seven or eight assists," Durant said. "So, I'm just trying to be an all-around player and just continue to help my team win."Durant turned it over just twice in this one and pumped his right fist after he set up Kevin Martin's 3-pointer with 4:57 to play for his 10th assist. The play also helped the Thunder hold on after Golden State cut a 21-point deficit to seven in the fourth quarter.Russell Westbrook scored 30 points and Martin had 23 off the bench as Oklahoma City had a season-high 31 assists for the second straight game and a season high in points. Durant, Westbrook and Martin also combined for 22 assists.Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 22 points, and David Lee chipped in 19 points and 10 rebounds."Durant's a pretty good passer to begin with and we decided we were going to load up a lot on him and Russell when they got the ball and make other guys beat us," Lee said. "The problem with loading up sometimes on him is that he's 6-11 and can see over it and make passes."I always considered him a pretty unselfish player, considering the amount of talent he has to score the basketball. I don't think that you would call him a selfish scorer by any means."It looked for a while as though Durant might be stuck on nine assists -- matching his previous career best from a double-overtime game against Denver during his rookie season in Seattle.Durant and Westbrook teamed up to score eight straight points late in the third quarter, with Westbrook's 3-pointer from the top of the key extending Oklahoma City's lead to 86-67. Durant had a chance to pick up his 10th assist before the end of the third period, but instead kept the ball on a fast break and wound up with a three-point play that put the Thunder ahead 94-73.He started the fourth quarter on the bench, but got a chance to come back in when Oklahoma City's reserves let the lead start slipping away.Coach Scott Brooks put his All-Stars back in with 8:18 left, after Curry's 3-pointer drew Golden State to 101-88. Nick Collison used a nifty touch pass off an offensive rebound to set up Serge Ibaka's layup, and Durant assisted on Martin's 3 on the next trip as Oklahoma City stemmed the tide."Some guys can just pass, some guys can just shoot, some guys can just rebound. Obviously, with Kevin, he can do many things on the floor and we always have to challenge him because we don't know how good he will end up being," Brooks said.Brooks said he doesn't want Durant to become a passer, but rather a play-maker."Every year for the next 100 years, he's going to be an MVP-type caliber player, and this is what MVP players do," Brooks said. "They make your team better, you win games and you do everything. You fill the stat sheet."You don't want to be a guy that just scores 35 and the team doesn't have success."Carl Landry had 14 points and Jarrett Jack scored 12 for Golden State, which lost despite shooting 52 percent from the field. Warriors reserve Richard Jefferson pulled himself out of the game late in the first quarter after straining his right calf, and he did not return.The Warriors wiped away an early seven-point deficit to go up 32-31 in the second quarter but Eric Maynor answered with a 3-pointer to start a 19-6 response that put Oklahoma City ahead to stay."They're the reigning Western Conference champions playing at home, playing well. You want to compete and find a way to beat them and in the end they shoot the ball 13-for-20 from 3. You give up 119 points," Curry said. "That's not going to cut it."Notes: Asked before the game how he would have defended Westbrook during his playing days, Warriors coach Mark Jackson responded: "Chapel first, and then stay late when all the guys leave to get some extra prayer in." ... Oklahoma City had held its opponents below 44 percent shooting in each of its first seven wins this season. ... Golden State had also held seven opponents below 44 percent this season, tying Chicago and Oklahoma City for the NBA lead.
BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons.
But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to.
Maybe he’s growing up.
Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team.
And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league.
I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office.
“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”
With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office.
This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six.
“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”
First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived.
“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”
BOSTON – Here are a few odds and ends to keep an eye on heading into tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings:
· The Celtics have won eight in a row over the Kings in Boston, with the last loss to Sacramento at the TD Garden coming on Jan. 19, 2007. Current Celtic Gerald Green was in the starting lineup that night.
· Only six times in franchise history have the Celtics launched 38 or more 3-pointers in a game, four of which came in the month of November this season.
· Speaking of 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of Boston’s shots are 3s. That ranks fifth in the league behind Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Golden State.
· Don’t be surprised if Avery Bradley gets off to a good start tonight, especially from 3-point range. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on 3s in the first quarter which ranks second in the league.
· Isaiah Thomas tallied 395 points scored in November, the most by a Celtic since John Havlicek had 406 points in November during the 1971-1972 season.
· Boston leads the NBA in points scored (46.3 per game) by second-round picks. The Celtics’ second-round picks include Isaiah Thomas; Jae Crowder; Amir Johnson; Jonas Jerebko; Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.
· The Celtics are 5-0 this season when they outrebound an opponent.
· Tonight’s game will be Boston’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. In the first game, they are 3-1 this season. On the second night, they are 2-2.