Kyrie Irving, Nets Beat Stephen Curry, Warriors in Durant's Golden State ReturnFebruary 14, 2021
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant's first game in the Bay Area following a three-season stint with the Golden State Warriors ended with his current team beating his old one 134-117 on Saturday in San Francisco's Chase Center.
Durant had missed the team's past three games (in addition to being pulled from a Feb. 5 contest against the Toronto Raptors) because of the league's COVID-19 health and safety protocols. He finished with 20 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Nets guard James Harden had a near triple-double with 19 points, a game-high 16 assists and eight rebounds, and Kyrie Irving added a team-high 23 points. Three other Nets had double-digit points.
For the Warriors, Stephen Curry led the way with 27 points, and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Golden State struggled from beyond the arc, making just nine of 34 three-pointers.
The 16-12 Nets won their second straight game, while the 14-13 Warriors' two-game win streak ended with the loss.
Nets F Kevin Durant: 20 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds
Nets G Kyrie Irving: 23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Nets G James Harden: 19 points, 16 assists, 8 rebounds, 3 steals
Warriors PG Stephen Curry: 27 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds
Warriors G/F Kelly Oubre Jr.: 17 points, 10 rebounds,
Warriors F Andrew Wiggins: 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks
Nets' Star Trio Puts on Offensive Clinic
The Nets have looked unstoppable at times with Durant, Irving and Harden on the court, with their offense proving invincible in spurts.
The defensive effort has sometimes left a lot to be desired, but the Nets have still gone 5-1 with all three stars on the court together for all four quarters.
On Saturday, the Nets crushed a winning Warriors team thanks to an A-plus offensive effort, showing what they're capable of at their best.
Highlights included Harden throwing a behind-the-back pass to a wide-open Bruce Brown in the first quarter:
Durant unleashed a silky smooth baseline jumper, showing no rust upon his return:
Irving crossed over Draymond Green and finished a layup despite being hit in the face:
Harden continued to form a personal highlight reel with a pair of eye-popping assists in the third, including a full-court pass to Durant:
And Irving's remarkable handles and finishes still took center stage:
A decent enough defensive performance on the other end eventually led to a blowout, with the game all but out of reach in the third quarter.
Warriors' Offense Can't Keep Pace with Nets' Attack
Sometimes, the Nets are going to play so well on offense that the opposing team needs to have a lights-out scoring attack to have a chance.
Of course, the Nets came into Saturday allowing the third-most points per game in the league, so that isn't an impossible task.
But a real problem occurs when opposing teams are simply off, or one or two players try carrying the load against the Nets' dominant triumvirate.
Curry is playing at an MVP level, but he wasn't in his best form Saturday, committing four turnovers and missing seven of nine three-pointers.
One of his makes was awfully impressive, though, as he drilled a three with two Nets in his face:
He also went a perfect 8-of-8 from two-point range and made all five of his free throws, so it isn't as if Curry struggled for all four quarters.
But the problem was that the Warriors' starting five as a whole simply got outclassed. Oubre did all he could to prevent that from happening, throwing down this hammer dunk at one point:
He also swatted this Durant shot out of bounds:
However, it wasn't meant to be for Golden State. The starting five combined to make just four of 23 three-pointers, and the Warriors simply had no answer for a relentless Nets lineup on the other end.
If not for excellent performances off the bench from Eric Paschall and Kent Bazemore (27 combined points in 34 total minutes), the result would have been even further out of reach.
Ultimately, the game's result occurred because the Nets played at their championship-level peak. Losing by 17 at home is never ideal, but the Warriors were simply outclassed on Saturday against an offense that is second to none at its best.
Both teams will play Monday at 10 p.m. ET. The Nets will visit the Sacramento Kings in Golden 1 Center, and the Warriors will host the Cleveland Cavaliers.