NBA

Durant grateful for warm welcome on Warriors return

By Sports Desk February 14, 2021

Kevin Durant was grateful for the warm reception and tribute video upon his first return to the Golden State Warriors as he led the Brooklyn Nets to a 134-117 win on Saturday.

Durant spent three seasons with the Warriors, winning two NBA Championships and was named Finals MVP twice.

He was absent last season after undergoing surgery on a torn Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, and then opted to leave as a free agent in July that year.

Saturday's contest was his first return to face the Warriors after sitting out 2019-20, and he went on to play an important role with 20 points, second only to Kyrie Irving (23) on the Nets' side.

Durant was impressed with the focus the Nets displayed, but he went on to revel in the tribute and reception afforded to him by his former team.

"We came out and played a great game," Durant said afterwards. "We were focused from this morning in shootaround, and it was a good vibe all day.

"The tribute video was cool. I think about those moments daily. Every single moment that I have had in this league, I think about it and try to analyse it and get better.

"My time here in Golden State was so much fun. It was such a big learning experience, especially learning basketball in a different philosophy. I'm going take to that with me for the rest of my life."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was in charge throughout Durant's three-year spell in the Bay Area and felt the tribute video was the least they could do, and a similar acknowledgement will take place once fans are allowed back in attendance.

"This is something that is such a no-brainer," Kerr said. "When Kevin came here and gave us three years of just incredible basketball, the least we could do is welcome him back with open arms.

"He's a guy that gave everything to us for three years then left with a devastating injury. There should be a lot of love, he did so much for us.''

Victory leaves the Nets third in the Eastern Conference.

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