The Brooklyn Nets destroyed the Warriors on Kevin Durant’s return to the San Francisco Bay Area Saturday night, beating Golden State 134-117.
It was a Brooklyn League game, the seventh best game of the season by 130 points.
We played a great game, Durant said of his winning comeback. This morning we were focused on shooting and we had a good feeling all day.
Before the game, Nets coach Steve Nash said he thought the game against his former team was especially important for Durant, but the former league MVP didn’t let that show.
We haven’t talked about it, Nash said. If there’s one game that’s smaller than normal, it’s the one where we don’t have fans, because his last game here was almost two years ago. So it won’t be the same… I don’t think… It’s tricks sometimes, but I think it still means something to him.
Durant, who played three seasons for the Warriors, finished Saturday with 20 points. James Harden contributed 19 points and 16 assists. Kyrie Irving led the scoring for Brooklyn with 23 points. All five starts for the Nets have reached double digits.
Stephen Curry scored 27 points for Golden State in that game.
During a break in the first quarter at the Chase Center, a tribute video was shown to thank Durant for his work at Golden State. In their three years with the Warriors, the team won two NBA championships and Durant was a finalist for MVP twice.
The stage video was cool. I think about these moments every day, Mr. Durant said. Every moment I’ve spent in this league, I’ve been thinking and trying to analyze and improve. My time at Golden State was a lot of fun. It was a great learning experience, especially learning to play basketball in a different philosophy. I’ll take it with me for the rest of my life.
A spokesman for the team said the Warriors plan to play another thank you video for during next season when the team plans to have fans in the arena.
It’s something that makes no sense. When Kevin came here and offered us three years of incredible basketball, the least we could do was welcome him with open arms, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. … A man who gave us three years and walked away with a devastating injury. It must be a lot of love, he’s done so much for us.
After leading by 15 points at halftime, the Nets were able to enter the fourth quarter with a 108-82 lead after a 42-point quarter. According to ESPN Stats & Information, their 26-point lead is the second largest in the Net after three quarters this season.
The Nets’ largest lead entering the fourth quarter of the season came from the Warriors, who led by 28 points on opening night in Brooklyn.
The big three in net, Harden, Durant and Irving, scored or visited the Brooklyn 100 points on Saturday. Brooklyn lost three of four games, but received Durant after he missed the last three games due to COVID-19 quarantine protocols.
Durant missed last season after undergoing surgery for a torn right Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Warriors. The same injury now has Clay Thompson – and Durant has been in regular contact with Thompson, who was watching from the sidelines on Saturday.
I can’t wait to see him there, Durant says of Thompson.
Durant came out onto the court to warm up before the game and greeted all of his friends. He and Curry concentrated on warming up before the two-time MVP stopped to say hello to Durant as he lay on his back at midfield.
When Durant walked off the field after the game, he hugged and shook hands with his former Warriors teammates and coaches.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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