SAN FRANCISCO — Kevin Durant won his long-anticipated first trip back to the Bay Arena 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.
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.