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Kevin Durant Comments on Criticism After Warriors' Season-Opening Loss

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2016

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 25:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors looks on against the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter in an NBA basketball game at ORACLE Arena on October 25, 2016 Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Kevin Durant's decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors propelled expectations in the Bay Area to unimaginable new heights.

It's safe to say the former MVP is aware of how he's perceived, now that he's a member of the NBA's preeminent superteam. 

According to ESPN.com's Ethan Sherwood Strauss, Durant stayed on the practice floor late at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans after his teammates left. He motivated himself by repeating criticisms that have been lobbed at him ever since he left the Oklahoma City Thunder

During his extended shooting session, Durant reportedly yelled, "They say I ain't hungry!" and "They told me I ain't have no drive! I'm out here. They called me a coward! Putting in work." 

As it turns out, Durant told reporters he uses outside criticism to fuel his desire to get better. 

"That's what I say to myself when I'm working," he said, per Strauss. "I hear it all the time. You hear the noise. You hear what they say about you. Everybody hears it. So it's a little extra motivation when you hear it."

Pressure is on Durant and the Warriors after last year's record-setting 73-win squad added one of the league's most lethal scorers. But there's no reason for the Dubs to panic after one loss. 

Although the Spurs crunched Golden State by 29 points Tuesday night, Durant acquitted himself nicely with 27 points (11-of-18 shooting), 10 rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes. 

But from a broader standpoint, it's clear Durant and the rest of the Warriors' star-studded cast need more time to develop chemistry—especially on defense. 

The Golden State lineup consisting of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Durant, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green posted an offensive rating of 130.8 against the Spurs, but a defensive rating of 144.9 in nine minutes, per NBA.com, which was alarming. 

That said, superteams generally take a few months to find their groove and establish an identity (just ask the 2010-11 Miami Heat). Some extra noise from the outside shouldn't deter Durant and Co. from striking fear into the rest of the NBA. 

With the New Orleans Pelicans on deck Friday night, expect Golden State to come out focused and ready to make amends for a poor opening-night showing. 

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