Durant did a bit of everything in his first trip back to the Bay Area to play with the team he helped capture two championships within three years, scoring 20 points from the Brooklyn Nets’ 134-117 success against Golden State on Saturday night.
“My time here at Golden State was so much pleasure,” Durant said. “It had been such a major learning experience, especially learning the game of basketball, another doctrine. I will take that with me for the rest of my life”
The NBA Finals MVP during both title runs, Durant missed his initial 3 shots before making a 3-pointer at the 5:49 mark of the first quarter and completed 8 for 19 from the floor and 1 of 6 on 3s.
Pal Stephen Curry didn’t have his very best stroke either, heading 10 of 17 for 27 points and two for 9 from heavy as cold-shooting Golden State dropped its third straight to the Nets and missed an opportunity in its first three-game winning streak of the season.
Golden State paid movie tribute with”Welcome back KD!” Through a first-quarter timeout and intends to so again during his second visit to Chase Center when lovers have returned.
“This is something which is such a no-brainer. When Kevin came here and gave us three decades of only amazing basketball the least we can do would be welcome him back with open arms,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “… A guy that gave us everything for three years then left with a catastrophic injury. There should be a lot of love, he did so much for all of us.”
The Nets had dropped three of four but welcomed back Durant afterwards he missed the previous three matches beneath COVID-19 quarantine protocols.
Kyrie Irving scored 23 points as Brooklyn snapped a seven-game losing streak on the Warriors’ home floor at its own very first trip to Chase Center.
“The tribute movie was cool. I think about those moments every day. Each and every moment I’ve had in this league I consider it and try to examine it and get from it,” Durant said.
Durant walked on the court for pregame warmups and greeted all his friends. He and Curry were concentrating on their warmup routines until the two-time MVP stopped to say hello as Durant stretched on his back at midcourt.
“I think it will mean something to him but he has not revealed it, we have not talked about it,” said Nets coach Steve Nash, who worked closely with Durant during his Bay Area stint as a Warriors player development adviser. “If there is a comeback game that is less than that which it might have been in the standard situation, it’s this one.”
Durant returned from missing last season after surgery for a torn right Achilles tendon he hurt in Game 5 of those 2019 NBA Finals with the Warriors.
It is the exact same injury Klay Thompson is sidelined with today — and Durant has been in regular contact with Thompson, who watched from the sideline Saturday.
“Can’t wait to see him out there,” Durant said.
The Warriors shot 4 for 20 on 3-pointers in the first half, 1 of 7 by Curry, and trailed 66-51 at the break.
Curry fought by his standards coming off a 40-point performance two nights before Orlando where he made 10 3-pointers.
The Warriors dropped 125-99 in Brooklyn to start the season Dec. 22, but”we’re a completely different team,” Kent Bazemore stated.
“James Harden’s sort of a big deal,” Kerr said.
Nets: The Nets made their initial trip to second-year Chase Center having been scheduled to play here during the stadium’s first year March 12 last year but the match was canceled near the start of the pandemic.
Warriors: Draymond Green”tweaked his knee and has been in a lot of pain” in the first half but was able to return, Kerr said. … Injured rookie James Wiseman spoke in Mandarin Chinese on the huge screen to help celebrate the Lunar New Year. … Enormous guy Kevon Looney says he is”making very good progress. Hopefully I will be back on the court soon,” a week out from his left ankle sprain — astonishingly an accident he’s never had previously.
“He is Kevin Durant and his title speaks for itself. He walks to the gym and people understand who he is. The dude is 7-foot and may freakin’ light up it, so he is a monster.” — Bazemore.
Warriors: Host Cavaliers on Monday night having won the previous six against Cleveland and five straight in the series in the home.