After a very short offseason turnaround, the 2020-21 NBA season tipped off on Thursday night. While the defending champions headlined the late game of TNT’s doubleheader, many eyes were on the season’s opening game between the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets. Besides seeing how the Warriors will look with Steph Curry back at full strength, the real intrigue came from seeing Kevin Durant in his Nets team debut.

The superstar didn’t disappoint in his first game since June 2019. Durant attacked his former team early and often, finishing with 22 points on 7-16 shooting as well as going 7-7 from the line. Durant needed to play just 25 minutes in the blowout win, adding five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and a block. The Nets outscored the Warriors by 26 points with Durant on the court.

Besides Durant, Kyrie Irving lit up the Warriors defense for an early look at one the league’s best one-two punches. Irving finished as the game’s leading scorer, tallying 26 points on 10-16 shooting. The point guard added four rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes, and connected on four-of-seven three-point attempts.

For the Warriors, Curry did his best to try and keep Golden State in the game, but his shots quickly became desperate as Brooklyn’s lead grew. Curry finished with a team-high 20 points, but a subpar 7-of-21 shooting and hit just two of ten three-point attempts in an uncharacteristic shooting night. He did add 10 assists and hit all four of his free throw attempts in 30 minutes on the court.

Rookie James Wiseman had 19 points and six boards in his NBA debut, as well as the best court rating (-10) of any Golden State starter. Andrew Wiggins had a tough night, shooting 4-of-16 from the field and 2-of-6 from three. Still, he was the third and final Warrior in double digits, with 13 points.

Besides the 48 points from Durant and Irving, Brooklyn’s offense was supplemented by Chris LaVert (20 points off the bench), Joe Harris (10 points), and Spencer Dinwiddie (9 points.) DeAndre Jordan was quiet on offense (four points on 2-3 FG) but made his impact where he needed to, with 11 rebounds and a blocked shot.

Both teams have 71 games left to play in the regular season, but so far, Brooklyn looks like a potential title contender, while the Warriors look a step slow without Klay Thompson supporting Curry.






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Header Photo Credit: NY Times

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