CM – Warriors make a statement by defeating Brooklyn, Kevin Durant

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BROOKLYN – The last time Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were the focus of discussion about potential championship contenders, it was a foregone conclusion. After all, the two most successful scorers in the NBA were on the same team.

Two years later, Curry and Durant top the league’s top scorer lists again, but now for separate teams, this could very well be the bottom two in June. That Tuesday night in November, however, they previewed a possible final series in a 117-99 Warriors win that had the intensity of a heavyweight title fight.

In the end, however, Golden State had turned a potential playoff preview into a statement for the early season. After the first loss in eight games to start the road trip, a setback was all but decided by the end of the third quarter on Tuesday.

« That was a big game for us, » said Andrew Wiggins after scoring 19 points and suspending James Harden. « I feel like we came out of here and showed that we are here, we are a good team, we are deep. »

Curry wowed the Brooklyn spectators with 37 points, which were high in the game, leaving half the arena on their feet if Curry touched the ball in the fourth quarter after Golden State took their sovereign lead largely without their star had built.
Stephen Curry (30) of the Golden State Warriors shoots over DeAndre ‘Bembry (95) of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Tuesday, November 16, 2021. (AP Photo / Frank Franklin II)

Golden State outperformed the Nets with 35-18 in a characteristic post-break performance, converting a five-point lead at halftime to 22nd after his fourth personal foul at the start of the final third .

« That third quarter defense was just stifling, » said Kerr. “That was an important part of the game. Everyone was in dire trouble. … I thought the combination of Draymond and (Kevon) Looney on the edge and Wiggs on Harden … that changed the game.  »

With four combined NBA MVPs and nine scoring titles sharing the floor at the Barclays Center, the nationally televised showdown on Tuesday night had all the star power of a finals matchup.

Curry and Durant went blow by blow through the first half, but both faded into the background after half for different reasons.

Curry knocked Blake Griffin down and fought for a loose ball, conceding his fourth personal foul at 7:00 a.m. of the third quarter, which put him on the bench by the start of the fourth. With their star-sitting, the Warriors were able to extend their lead by seven more points.

Durant tried eight shots in the third quarter and missed all of them. All of the 17 points the Warriors added to build their lead came down with him. He finished the game with -24 and only scored three points after half-time – all from fouls. James Harden, the other former MVP on the floor, couldn’t carry the Nets on his own but finished with a team high of 24.
Draymond Green (23) defended by the Golden State Warriors while Kevin Durant (7) of Brooklyn Nets searches for an outlet during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Tuesday, November 16, 2021. (AP Photo / Frank Franklin II)

Draymond Green, not an MVP but Defensive Player of the Year, has been tasked with defending Durant.

Green and Durant were pissed off at times, and both got the best out of themselves on separate occasions. Durant scored an efficient 12 points in the first half but flipped the ball a couple of times when Green beat his attempts to pass.

Kerr said he couldn’t remember any other time that Durant came away empty-handed for an entire quarter, let alone half a quarter.

« These guys are incredibly difficult to handle, » Kerr said of the Durant and Harden duo of the Nets. “But all in all, I thought after that first quarter when they were 34, we kind of encircled them and forced them to take some hard hits. … I found that they looked a bit tired in the third quarter, and our defenses tightened and made a few stops at this point, and we were able to pull away.  »

The Warriors’ third quarter couldn’t have gone better for half-time.
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Andrew Wiggins gave Golden State the chance for a two-on-one with a 3-pointer, 25.6 seconds back at halftime, and was the one to take advantage of another bucket from a distance than the buzzer rang out a six-point blow that gave the Warriors a 63-58 lead at break.

Like Curry, however, Wiggins had to sit on the bench for much of the second half due to fouls. He picked up his fourth member of staff a minute and a half before Curry.

Although Curry only played 29 minutes, he managed to make nine of his 14 attempts out of 3 (and shoot a total of 12 out of 19). It was Curry’s third game of its kind this season, an achievement that no other player in the NBA has ever achieved.

Within moments of his return in the fourth quarter, Curry had the crowd on his feet with his theatrics. The game was decided by then anyway.

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