Trace Medina, USA TODAY
Printed 2: 20 a.m. ET Feb. 14, 2021
The evening started and ended with Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant catching up and hugging all of his dilapidated Golden Recount Warriors teammates and coaches.
In between, the Warriors remained overwhelmed for the length of a 134-117 loss to the Nets in what marked Durant’s first return to the Bay Put aside after leaving the Warriors virtually 2½ years ago.
“It sucked,” Warriors ahead Draymond Green talked about. “We obtained our ass kicked.”
Slump they did.
The Warriors once did that for the length of three seasons with Durant, who won two NBA championships and two Finals MVP’s.
And since then?
The Warriors achieved final season with the NBA’s worst file.
While the Warriors (14-13) own hovered a minute bit above or below .500 all season, Green considers the Nets (16-12) “the crew to beat in the East.”
The reason? Be taught about no additional than Durant (20 aspects) teaming up with Kyrie Irving (23 aspects) and James Harden (19 aspects, 16 assists) to create an offensive powerhouse.
“No one on this planet can discontinue him,” Green talked about. “After having fun with him tonight, I composed judge no one on this planet can discontinue him.”
The Warriors was lottery sure final season because Durant’s departure coincided with Klay Thompson’s season-ending knee damage, Andre Iguodala’s change for wage-cap capabilities and Shaun Livingston’s retirement. Then, Warriors guard Stephen Curry fractured his left thumb four video games into the season, and handiest returned for one extra recreation. It resulted in a No. 2 get that the Warriors outmoded on promising heart James Wiseman.
This season, the Warriors are scrapping for a backside-seeded playoff attach. That has left the Warriors usually taking one step ahead and one step attend.
“We’ve handled it properly since it hasn’t flipped if fact be told on both facet. We haven’t won three in a row, however we haven’t misplaced three in a row,” Curry talked about. “However there’s no apprehension at all in case you should own a evening adore this against a honest crew.”
That is since it gave the affect inevitable the Nets would blow the Warriors out in consequence of their star energy. The identical thing took intention for the length of the Warriors’ season opener. However Warriors coach Steve Kerr observed Golden Recount has “become an utterly various crew” since then.
The honest? Curry has build together an MVP-caliber season. Green has at final become wholesome and staunch alongside with his defensive versatility and playmaking. Wiseman has emerged as a staunch rim protector. Andrew Wiggins has improved his scoring and protection. Juan Toscano-Anderson has become a staunch characteristic player.
The unsuitable? Thompson stays sidelined with a season-ending valid Achilles damage. Curry carries a heavy burden. Green does no longer provide staunch scoring, and he overlooked essentially the important four video games in consequence of the NBA’s properly being and security protocols relating to the coronavirus. Kelly Oubre Jr. stays erratic alongside with his shooting. The Warriors discontinue no longer own a right heart amid accidents to Wiseman (left wrist) and Kevon Looney (left ankle).
“The honest thing is we feel adore we composed own somewhat heaps of room for snort,” Kerr talked about. “And we can flip this into a mighty season by making the most important improvements and strides”
Kerr would no longer shriek this kind of thing if he felt he had a crew that both lacked skill or the valid attitude. The Warriors own each and every. They honest discontinue no longer own the elite skill as they did for the length of their dynasty after they won three NBA titles in five Finals appearances, revolutionized up-to-the-minute offenses and dominated on protection with positional versatility.
That was obvious against Brooklyn. Curry had a rare off evening the attach he had 27 aspects while shooting 10-of-17 from the subject however handiest 2-of-9 from 3-level fluctuate. The remainder of the Warriors shot 2-of-25 from deep. And the Warriors had no acknowledge for the Nets’ properly-oiled offense.
However for the length of the course of the season, the Warriors own had entertaining substances which own kept them afloat. They composed own the crew-oriented custom that the Warriors’ front intention of work and Kerr own promoted. Curry has on the full shot extra constantly, and any aggregate of Wiggins, Oubre Jr., Toscano-Anderson or Kent Bazemore own emerged as decent characteristic avid gamers. And Green has quarterbacked a protection that ranks eighth in defensive rating (109.6) and second in defensive subject-aim proportion (43.6%).
“Time together will reduction us,” Green talked about. “This crew has the functionality to be an preferrred defensive crew.”
To reach that level, the Warriors will need a wholesome Wiseman and Looney. They’ll then own quite lots of work to neat the league-worst 22.7 fouls they commit per recreation and No. 15 ranking in rebounding (52.4). Within the meanwhile, the Warriors’ offense hinges on Curry’s teammates supporting him by each and every frigid and warm shooting nights.
“We obtained to preserve consistent on all facets of the bottom,” Wiggins talked about. “We can rating with any individual. However it surely all starts on protection. When we lock in defensively, we’re a provoking crew.”
Perhaps no longer as provoking as when the Warriors had Durant, whose tribute video earlier than the game featured various photos of the him scoring from all over the attach the court. However on a evening they embraced a returning player that helped them purchase championships, the Warriors composed remain no longer astray toward additional surroundings up into a playoff crew.