Kevin Durant shines in first game
at new home Oracle Arena,
USA routs China again 107-57
Cheered all night long by his basketball-crazed new fan base, Kevin Durant knocked down a 3-pointer on the Americans’ first touch and slammed home a dunk the very next time down the floor.
Then, another pretty one-handed jam just a few minutes after that.
What a performance for Golden State’s latest big star to help lead the U.S. Olympic team past China 107-57 on Tuesday night for a third dominant victory in as many exhibition games.
Durant, who finalized his two-year contract with the Warriors on July 8, scored all 13 of his points during a 13 1/2-minute span of the first half while playing his first game at his new home, Oracle Arena.
He was the first American player back on the floor after halftime to get in some more shots, all while Warriors general manager Bob Myers stood close by along the sideline.
Booed in Los Angeles a couple days back, Durant received a far more friendly reception in the Bay Area he will now call home. He emerged for pregame warmups to huge roars. He departed the court before the game to a swarm of autograph hounds hanging over the railings in the tunnel – and kindly obliged. One person held a sign that read, “KD is not a Villain.”
Durant received a rousing standing ovation when introduced along with Warriors All-Stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
Also cheered was former Golden State forward Harrison Barnes, part of this past season’s runner-up team that squandered a 3-1 series lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers to miss out on a repeat title.
The sellout crowd went nuts again when Durant checked back into the game at the 2:32 mark of the third quarter.
Mike Krzyzewski’s latest star-studded roster sure looks untouchable just more than a week before the Rio Games begin.
Chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” greeted Durant in the building where Stephen Curry has won the past two NBA MVPs, becoming this first unanimous winner last season.
Curry – who opted out of playing for the Americans in their Rio Olympic run – had a courtside seat to watch with his wife, Ayesha.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and former Warriors star Chris Mullin was in the house sitting next to Mitch Richmond.
Warriors assistant coach and former member of the Thunder staff Ron Adams was an early arrival to watch Durant’s warmup routine. At his introductory news conference, Durant joked, “Ron Adams was the only reason I came.”
Before joining Golden State, Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder blew a 3-1 lead to the Warriors in the Western Conference finals. He is ready to chase a championship with Curry and Co.
Green, joined on the court by Durant and Thompson, took the microphone before tipoff to thank the fans.
“We appreciate the support,” he said. “We look forward to going on to Rio and winning the gold.”
It will be the second straight Olympics the Americans have three teammates on the roster. Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook represented the U.S. four years ago at the London Games.
The next stop for Krzyzewski’s team will be in Chicago to face Venezuela on Friday night at United Center before wrapping up its pre-Olympic tour against Nigeria on Monday in Houston.
China, which lost to the Americans 106-57 on Sunday, and the U.S. also meet in their Olympic opener Aug. 6.
A moment of silence was held for former Warriors great Nate Thurmond, a Hall of Famer who died earlier this month at age 74 after a short bout with leukemia.