SAN FRANCISCO — Kevin Durant won his long-anticipated first trip back to the Bay Area to play the Warriors team he helped capture two titles over three years, scoring 20 points in the Brooklyn Nets' 134-117 victory over Golden State on Saturday night (Sunday, Manila time).
The NBA Finals MVP in both title runs, Durant missed his initial three shots before knocking down a 3-pointer at the 5:49 mark of the first quarter and finished 8 for 19 from the floor and 1 of 6 on 3s.
Pal Stephen Curry didn't have his best stroke either, going 10 of 17 for 27 points and 2 for 9 from deep as cold-shooting Golden State lost its third straight to the Nets and missed a chance at its first three-game winning streak all season.
The Warriors saw ex-Houston nemesis James Harden in a Nets uniform for the first time, and he dished out 14 assists to go with 19 points, including five 3s, and eight rebounds. Kyrie Irving scored 23 points as Brooklyn snapped a seven-game losing streak on the Warriors' home floor in its first visit to Chase Center.
The Nets had lost three of four but welcomed back Durant after he missed the past three games under COVID-19 quarantine protocols.
Golden State paid video tribute with "Welcome back KD!" during a first-quarter timeout and plans to so again during his next visit to Chase Center when fans have returned.
The Warriors shot 4 for 20 on 3-pointers in the first half, 1 of 7 by Curry, and trailed 66-51 at the break.
Curry struggled by his standards coming off a 40-point performance two nights earlier against Orlando in which he made 10 3-pointers.
The Warriors lost 125-99 at Brooklyn to open the season Dec. 22, but "we're a totally different team," Kent Bazemore said.
So were the new-look Nets.
Nets: The Nets made their first visit to second-year Chase Center having been scheduled to play here during the arena's first season March 12 last year but the game was canceled near the start of the pandemic. ... Brooklyn won three in a row against Golden State for the first time since March 9, 2011 through March 30, 2012. ... The Nets earned their first road win at Golden State since a 102-100 victory on March 30, 2012.
Warriors: Injured rookie James Wiseman spoke in Mandarin Chinese on the big screen to help celebrate the Lunar New Year. ... Big man Kevon Looney says he's "making good progress. Hopefully I'll be back on the court soon," a week out from his left ankle sprain — surprisingly an injury he's never had previously.
RESPECT FOR KD
Durant walked onto the court for pregame warmups and exchanged hugs and handshakes with all of his friends. He and Curry were concentrating on their warmup routines until the two-time MVP stopped to say hello as Durant stretched on his back at midcourt.
"I think it does mean something to him but he hasn't showed it, we haven't talked about it," said Nets coach Steve Nash, who worked closely with Durant during his Bay Area stint as a Warriors player development consultant. "If there's ever a comeback game that is less than what it may have been in the normal situation, it's this one."
Durant returned from missing last season following surgery for a torn right Achilles tendon he hurt in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals with the Warriors.
It's the same injury Klay Thompson is sidelined with now.
"The fact that he's come back from the injury in such a strong manner, it's really encouraging," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. "We pull for KD and want him to do well and we want him healthy. Now we have our own player who's dealing with an Achilles with Klay. I think KD's play has been inspiring to Klay. In the end all you really want is everybody to be healthy and thriving in this league because the league is better for it, and you root for individual people."
"He's Kevin Durant and his name speaks for itself. He walks into the gym and people know who he is. The dude is 7-foot and can freakin' light it up, so he's a monster." -- Bazemore.
Nets: At Sacramento on Monday night to continue a five-game West Coast road trip.
Warriors: Host Cavaliers on Monday night having won the last six against Cleveland and five straight in the series at home.