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NBA: Bulls run put in jeopardy

Durant back with Warriors

Kevin Durant  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Kevin Durant (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Kevin Durant scored 16 points in his return from injury as the Golden State Warriors won their 14th straight with a 123-101 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.

Durant also finished with a game-high 10 rebounds and six assists as he played 31 minutes at the Amway Center after missing 19 games with a knee injury.

“I felt good putting my jersey on and running out with the team. It felt normal again,’’ Durant said.

“I am a basketball player. I love playing basketball. It is my favourite thing to do. To feel part of team and this energy we have feels great.’’

The Warriors improved to 66-14 to extend their win streak which is the longest in the NBA this season. They had already clinched the top seeding in the Western Conference.

They won Saturday despite the absence of Stephen Curry, who was sidelined by a bruised left knee.

The Pelicans (33-47) played minus star big men DeMarcus Cousins (right Achilles tendinitis) and Anthony Davis (sore left knee).

They were also playing the second night of back-to-back games that began with a loss in Denver.

Durant suffered a sprained left knee on February 28.

The Warriors threw him right into the fire against the Pelicans, not only starting him but feeding him on their first possession. He made good, driving to the hoop for a reverse dunk.

“You get a dunk on the first play of the game, it don’t matter how long you been out, it feels good,’’ he said.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Durant has been bugging him to play.

“At first we thought it was season ending,’’ Kerr said. “I am just happy for him that he was back out here where he needs to be. It was time for him to play.’’

Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) goes to the basket past Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) and guard KJ McDaniels (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) goes to the basket past Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) and guard KJ McDaniels (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Elsewhere, Jimmy Butler did all he could, but the Chicago Bulls’ defensive lapses proved too costly to overcome in a damaging 107-106 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

Butler scored 33 points, but the Bulls’ bid to rally from a lacklustre first half were doomed by their inability to put the brakes on the Nets in the final five minutes.

Other NBA games:
Boston 121, Charlotte 114
Indiana 127, Orlando 112
Miami 106, Washington 103
Milwaukee 90, Philadelphia 82
LA Clippers 98, San Antonio 87
Portland 101, Utah 86

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