Kevin Durant looked good as new against his old team, Kyrie Irving was even better and the Brooklyn Nets kicked off the Steve Nash era with a 125-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night in the opening of the NBA season.
Durant shook off 18 months of rust in moments and finished with 22 points in 25 minutes of his first official game since ruptured Achilles tendon while playing for Golden State in Game 5 of the NBA Finals 2019.
Irving led Brooklyn with 26 points and Caris LeVert scored 20 as the Nets led by as many as 38, shedding points like the Phoenix Suns did when Nash was their point guard, or more recently Golden State when Durant was their. All-Star forward.
The Nets are expected to compete for the Eastern Conference title after finally reuniting Durant and Irving on the field and they used the 72-game shortened season opener to prove they could be worth it. the hype.
Stephen Curry had 20 points and 10 assists for the Warriors, an exhausted team unlike the power that won two titles in Durant’s three seasons there.
Durant left shortly after undergoing surgery for her injury and had to be absent for the entire 2019-20 season before she was even suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Teammates who worked with him said the four-time champion is back in great shape and Durant quickly backed up their bragging in a near-empty Barclays Center.
He made his first three shots, one 3-point and one fouled, and was in double digits in under five minutes. He did it all, but followed Irving, who made three 3-pointers and had 17 points in 9.5 minutes of the first quarter, when the Nets were leading by no less than 21.
Irving, himself returning from injury after playing just 20 games last season with shoulder issues, had Brooklyn’s last two baskets of the first half, including a deep 3-point scorer with 4.1 seconds to play which made 63-45.
Durant then scored 10 more in Brooklyn’s 36-point third quarter, ending his night for good late in the period.
Second pick James Wiseman started center despite his limited preparation and tallied 19 points and six rebounds. But the Warriors, playing without Draymond Green with a sore right foot, must find more shooting around Curry with Klay Thompson set to miss a second straight season.
Andrew Wiggins was 4 for 16 for his 13 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. was 3 for 14.
Warriors: Coach Steve Kerr said Green has scheduled individual training on Tuesday and will hopefully do group work on Wednesday when they stay in New York to train. … Wiseman, at 19, 266 days old, became the third youngest Golden State player to start a game behind Andris Biedrins (18, 352) and Anthony Randolph (19, 179). … Golden State kicks off the season with a four-game road trip in the East. This is the first time the Warriors have started in the Eastern Time Zone since 1975. The Warriors signed Juan Toscano-Anderson, who started six games for them last season, to a two-way contract.
Nets: The Nets broke a seven-game losing streak to open the season. They are 1-0 for the first time since November 3, 2012, their first game at the Barclays Center after leaving New Jersey. … Brooklyn re-signed G Chris Chiozza for a bilateral contract on Tuesday. He played 18 games with the Nets last season. … The Nets honored essential workers who have helped New York City fight the coronavirus, raising a banner at one end of the Barclays Center.
Warriors: Visit Milwaukee on Friday.