See what Kevin Durant did for the first time

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See what Kevin Durant did for the first time

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.

Giants spring training Day 12: Pence hits early, Marrero crushes walk-off in ninth

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Giants spring training Day 12: Pence hits early, Marrero crushes walk-off in ninth

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bruce Bochy thought he might take it slow with Hunter Pence this spring. Pence, of course, had other ideas. 

Pence, who was held back by intercostal soreness during the first week of workouts, insisted on playing the Cactus League opener. He drove in the first Giants run of the new year with a double off the wall in the bottom of the first inning. 

“I just like to be out there game one,” Pence said. “It’s a message. It’s good to be out there. I have every intention of being ready to play every game of the season, so getting out there game one is important to me.”

Bochy played plenty of regulars on the first day, but they were long gone when this one was decided in dramatic fashion. Chris Marrero, a non-roster invitee, hit a three-run walk-off homer as the Giants topped the Reds 6-4.

Marrero, 28, was one of the lead targets for a scouting staff that has made a habit of finding non-roster gems. The former first-round pick hit 23 homers for Boston’s Triple-A team and the Giants went after him hard when he became a minor league free agent. Marrero said his agent got a call within the first five minutes. It was an easy decision, in part because of the non-roster history here and in part because Marrero never got a call-up despite minor league success with the Red Sox. 

“If this team wants you, it’s a good thing,” Marrero said of the Giants. 

Marrero plays first base and the outfield, and while there are plenty of longtime big leaguers in camp, he certainly made a statement on the first day. The slider he hit went out to left in a hurry. 

“He’s a right-handed bat with power,” Bochy said. “He threw out good at-bats on the first day. We’re excited he signed with us. He’s going to get some at-bats here.”

THE ACE: Bochy gave Madison Bumgarner the option of skipping this game and making his debut next week, but Bumgarner — who typically doesn’t throw off a mound until he gets to camp — wanted to face hitters. “I thought it’d be good to get out there and get my feet wet,” he said. Bumgarner worked with Nick Hundley, who made some friends the first time out. 

PROSPECT WATCH: Clayton Blackburn delivered a bit of a message with two perfect innings: Don’t forget about me. 

Blackburn has been bumped down the depth chart by Ty Blach and Tyler Beede, but he was sharp while striking out three. “He was right on, wasn’t he?” Bochy said.

Blackburn was a big story last spring, coming off a season where he led the PCL with a 2.85 ERA. He had a 4.36 ERA last season and that led to some offseason changes. Blackburn said he threw off a mound 10-12 times before coming to camp last year, but he limited it to a handful of sessions this year, instead focusing on flat-ground throws into a net.

“You only have so many bullets,” he said, noting there was some fatigue last season. “You can’t waste them all in the offseason.”

Blackburn was called up last season but never got into a game. 

“There’s definitely a lot more hunger,” he said. “It’s always cool to get called up, but it was disappointing not to get in and not see any more time the rest of the year. It’s disappointing, but it’s part of the game.”

With a few more outings like Friday’s, Blackburn will get that second shot. His peripherals were just about the same across the board in 2015 and 2016, with the glaring difference being 12 additional homers in a hitter-friendly league. If he cuts back on the home runs, there’s no reason why Blackburn can’t get back in the mix here. 

NOTEWORTHY: Jimmy Rollins was 1-for-2 in his Giants debut, with a run scored … Wynton Bernard, the speedy outfielder plucked from Detroit’s system, scored on a double and two wild pitches … Jae-gyun Hwang didn’t have the best debut. He struck out twice and stumbled (for an error) on a slow roller to third ... Healthy Joe Panik had two hits in two at-bats ... Orlando Calixte played second and short and Bochy lit up when talking about his versatility. Calixte will see time in the outfield this spring, too. 

FAMILIAR FACES: It was 2010 Day at the ballpark, as Freddy Sanchez, Bengie Molina and Jeremy Affeldt were all on the field during BP. Molina and Affeldt were part of broadcast teams, but Sanchez was here with his under-9 travel ball team. Per Sanchez, the team is the best U9 team in Arizona. 

QUOTABLE: “We feed off each other and I know he feeds off of me. Hunter is a special cat. He’s the most positive person you’ll ever come across, but it’s hard because he plays with the team-first mentality and he puts himself second and sometimes that gets really hard on a person and can weigh a person down. I like to be there with him and bounce things off of him and try to keep him light and energetic. I’m not saying I take anything away from him, but don’t let him carry this big burden. Be that guy for him. He can be Batman, I’ll be Robin.” --- Mike Morse during an interview that airs on my podcast this week. You can stream it online here or download it on iTunes here.

A's spring training Day 11: Doolittle eager for Casilla to arrive

A's spring training Day 11: Doolittle eager for Casilla to arrive

MESA, Ariz. — It’s been a strange spring so far for the A’s bullpen, which holds big potential but has been shorthanded early in camp.

Consider Friday a step forward, as Sean Doolittle threw off a mound for the first time since workouts began Feb. 15. He’s being eased along slowly in an effort to keep his throwing shoulder fresh and healthy.

Any day now, Oakland also hopes to add Santiago Casilla to the mix. The right-hander, who signed to a two-year $11 million deal in January, has missed the first 10 days of spring training while awaiting his visa paperwork to be completed in the Dominican Republic.

Manager Bob Melvin had no updates for the media Friday. But Doolittle, for one, eagerly anticipates Casilla’s arrival.

“We hope he gets here soon,” Doolittle said. “I think he’s going to be ready for Opening Day regardless of when he gets here.”

Casilla, who rang up 123 saves for the Giants over the past seven seasons, is projected as a key piece for the relief corps. To this point Melvin hasn’t expressed public concern about Casilla’s absence, but he said the urgency will kick in a bit if the Cactus League schedule starts unfolding and Casilla still hasn’t reported. The A’s play their first exhibition Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.

A healthy Doolittle is just as important because he’s a hard-throwing left-hander in a bullpen otherwise dominated by righties. He threw off the mound before spring training began and has said he feels good. But he and the training staff are taking the conservative route after shoulder strains have limited him to 56 games over the past two years. His 20-pitch session Friday went well.

“All fastballs, but it was coming out clean,” Doolittle said. “I was really happy with how I was able to repeat things and put the ball where I wanted to.”

Doolittle got to know Casilla during spring camp in 2008 and ’09, when Doolittle was a prospect still playing first base and Casilla was in his first stint with Oakland.

“That’s a guy I think I can learn a lot from,” he said. “A lot of guys can learn from him.”

PROSPECT WATCH: Sort of cheating to place Jharel Cotton in this section, as he’s likely to land in the starting rotation. But the right-hander was sharp facing hitters Friday.

“The deception just stands out with him,” Melvin said. “… He’s got an assortment of breaking pitches.”

Lefty A.J. Puk, last year’s first-round pick, faced hitters for the second time and gave up little in the way of hard contact, with his changeup standing out in particular.

BEST SHAPE OF HIS LIFE ALERT: After missing the majority of last season following left hip surgery, outfielder/first baseman Mark Canha has earned strong praise from Melvin early on. Canha will draw the start in left field Saturday and hit cleanup against the Cubs in the Cactus League opener.

“He worked hard in the offseason. His swing looks good,” Melvin said. “He looks like he’s in great shape and I think he’s out to prove a serious point this year — that he can be a very productive guy at the big league level, as we’ve seen before.”

As the roster stands, Canha lines up as a platoon partner with Matt Joyce in right field and could also see time at first or DH.

NOTEWORTHY: With exhibition play starting, the A’s held their final workout at the Lew Wolff Training Complex and will shift operations over to Hohokam Stadium, where they will hold batting practice and pre-game workouts.

ICYMI Catch up with third base prospect Matt Chapman and what he learned during an up-and-down year at Double-A in 2016. 

A’s president Dave Kaval talked at length about the team’s ballpark search in the most recent A’s Insider Podcast.