Nationals

Durant's triple-double leads Thunder over Warriors

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Durant's triple-double leads Thunder over Warriors

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Kevin 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 on Sunday night.

The three-time NBA scoring champion has endured some growing pains this season trying to improve his floor game, with a bump in his assist number coinciding with an increase in his turnovers, too. He came in averaging four turnovers per game, the fourth-worst in the league.

He 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.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 22 points, and David Lee chipped in 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Russell Westbrook scored 30 points and passed out seven assists, and Martin scored 23 off the bench as Oklahoma City had a season-high 31 assists for the second straight game and had a season high in points.

It looked for a while as though Durant might be stuck on nine assists.

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.

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 as Scott Brooks continued to fiddle with his rotation following the trade of James Harden and other bench players just before the season started. But just as soon as Andris Biedrins finished off a 7-0 run with a hook shot to put Golden State up 32-31, Eric Maynor answered with a 3-pointer to start a 19-6 response that put Oklahoma City ahead to stay.

The Thunder had a final flurry to finish the first half, with Durant hitting a 3-pointer before Westbrook's right-handed throwdown on a fast break made it 59-46.

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.

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Here's why one writer voted for Max Scherzer over Jacob deGrom for NL Cy Young

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USA Today

Here's why one writer voted for Max Scherzer over Jacob deGrom for NL Cy Young

Jacob deGrom could've been a unanimous Cy Young award winner Wednesday. Instead, he won with 29 of 30 first-place votes.

The only voter who chose not to give deGrom a first-place vote was John Maffei of the San Deigo Union-Tribune

"What is stunning to me is the blowback from the fans, especially in New York," wrote Maffei. "Dozens of emails — some venomous — ranging from 'hey dumbass,' 'incompetent,' 'idiot,' 'moron' and 'clown.' Several called for my head, my job."

Shocking. Keyboard warriors furiously typing out their frustration and overreacting to something they didn't like.  

Maffei joined Steve Somers of WFAN in New York as well, which ended up being the shortest interview in the history of interviews.

Maffei points out that he chose to vote for Scherzer over deGrom for many reasons. One being, despite a 1.70 ERA over 217 innings, he had 10 wins and nine losses.

After he talked with other baseball experts, looked at Scherzer's 2.53 ERA and his historic 300-strikeout season — making him one of only 17 pitchers to do that since 1900 — Maffei says his vote was swayed in the direction of the Nats' ace.

One thing's for sure, Maffei may not have made any friends in New York, but he's made plenty of new ones in Washington. 

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Austin Rivers wants to interview Jay-Z and Barack Obama; still cant John Wall on his podcast

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USA Today

Austin Rivers wants to interview Jay-Z and Barack Obama; still cant John Wall on his podcast

Just one episode into his new podcast 'Go Off,' Wizards guard Austin Rivers is already learning plenty about the media world. With plans to become a television analyst when his playing days are done, Rivers is gaining a new appreciation for what it takes to speak at-length without stumbling over his words.

He's also starting to realize one of the biggest pain points for a media member: waiting on guests. Rivers has tried to line up interviews with his teammates and it's been much easier said than done.

Rivers is set to have Dwight Howard on as his first guest, but the original plan was point guard John Wall. Wall, though, has been giving him the runaround.

"That's the hardest thing is getting guests to show up," Rivers said. 

"It's impossible to get John on my podcast. At this point, I just don't expect it anymore. He says he'll do it next week and then the week comes. John has like 15 things to do a day. I don't know what these guys do. I play in the league, too. I know how un-busy my life is outside of this. And I've got a kid. John has a brand to run. He's a different level. Sorry, you can see the frustration on my face with not getting John on my podcast, man."

Rivers hopes to have many of his teammates on. He mentioned Kelly Oubre Jr. and how an interview with Oubre "might be a little out there." He also gave a hint about what his conversation with Howard will be like.

"I'm definitely gonna have some interesting topics to bring up with Dwight. I told him 'listen, you might want to check with your publicist before coming on my podcast.' We only talk about real conversations on here," Rivers said.

Rivers says he plans to start with fellow NBA players and then work in special episodes with guests outside of the league and even outside of basketball. He hopes to record an episode with financial advisors to talk about money and investments. He wants to take a deep dive into the AAU circuit and how it can be fixed.

Eventually, Rivers wants to aim very high with his guests. He gave a list of his dream interviews and there are some big names.

"Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade. Dwyane Wade is my favorite player. I'm gonna get Dwyane Wade on my podcast, for sure. I'm gonna go ahead and put that out there," Rivers said.

"Off-the-court, I would love to get Denzel Washington on there. That would be my dream... I want to do a podcast with me and my dad and Jaden Smith and Will Smith. I think that would be really dope, talking about parent-to-son success and how he related to his son to have a work ethic and how my dad did it to me."

Rivers went even higher. He wants to interview a president.

"I guess if I could go the highest, I would go Jay-Z or [Barack] Obama. But let's be realistic, here," Rivers said.

"[Interviewing Obama] would be incredible, bro. I would be so nervous. I'm not there yet, I'll be honest. I need like six or seven or eight more podcasts before I can get Obama on there because I'm gonna be stuttering. I can't do it with Obama yet. I don't know if I could handle Denzel right now."

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