SHOWING amazing resiliency after being knocked down in the dying seconds of the opening round by a vicious left hook from previously unbeaten Prince Albert Pagara, Mexico’s Cesar Juarez came charging back and eventually crushed the world-title hopeful with a series of bludgeoning punches that sent the Filipino crashing to the canvas early in Round 8, where he lay prostrate on all fours for several minutes before being stretchered out and taken by ambulance to the Stanford Medical Center.

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OAKLAND -- P.J. Carlesimo, who coached Kevin Durant's rookie season in the NBA, used to have an office high above the practice court. One of the cool features was an expansive window that allowed him to oversee the action.

But on otherwise desolate nights, when the court lights flickered on to the thump-thump-thump of a basketball, the panorama was hardly necessary.

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The shortcut to a championship — as Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller both called it — began with Kevin Durant claiming that, in fact, he isn’t taking any shortcuts.

“This is the hardest road,” Durant said during his introductory press conference with the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. “This is not the easiest road.”

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