NEW YORK — After the final shot clock expired and the Brooklyn Nets sealed a dominant 129-88 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, Kevin Durant shared an extended embrace with his former teammate Stephen Curry.
Durant and Curry, who were both injured and on their teams’ respective benches during the game, stood on the court and had a conversation that lasted for several minutes. As they talked, the Nets’ in-game entertainment dancers bobbed around them, music blared and the Nets’ break-dancing team did backflips.
As injured players, Durant and Curry did not speak to the media Wednesday.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday that he was looking forward to seeing Durant. Kerr said the two had not spoken since the summer.
“We haven’t talked during the season, but I saw him this summer and we had a really good conversation,” Kerr said. “The main thing is I want him to be healthy and get back to playing. He loves playing so much. I miss watching his post-practice workouts. He was a mesmerizing post-practice player, and I mean that sincerely. It was fun to watch that every single day, so I miss that.”
Durant hasn’t been able to show off the post-practice workout routine as he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon. Still, the 31-year-old usually sits on the bench during the Nets’ games and offers his teammates advice and encouragement.
Kerr said he saw Durant occupy a similar role when he was with Golden State and was injured during the 2019 playoffs.
“He was very vocal, much like Steph Curry is now for us and Klay Thompson,” Kerr said before Wednesday’s game. “That is how Kevin was last year, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that that is how he is this year as he continues to heal, and he is going to try to help any way he can, I’m sure.”
Durant made his way through the Warriors’ roster and coaching staff, hugging every player and Warriors staffer who approached him.
Durant also reserved a hug for forward Draymond Green. Before Durant departed from the Warriors, he and Green had an altercation after a loss to the LA Clippers during the 2018-19 season. The disagreement started on the court, but the two players continued to exchange verbal jabs in the locker room after the game.
“I wish it wouldn’t have happened,” Durant said in an October interview with ESPN’s First Take. “I feel like that was a situation that definitely could have been avoided.”
It was also D’Angelo Russell’s first game back in Barclays Center since the guard was sent to the Warriors as part of a sign-and-trade deal that landed Durant in Brooklyn. Russell received warm applause from the Brooklyn crowd during introductions, and the first time he went to the free throw line, the Nets’ sponsored fan section, “The Block” started “Thank you, D-Lo” chants. The Nets played a video after the first quarter thanking Russell for his time in Brooklyn.
“It was cool, man,” Russell said of the reception. “Felt like home. You can always count on New York fans to be there. It was dope.”