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Birthday boy Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors core four already in mid-season form

with the aid of C.J. PetersonSpecial to S.F. Examiner

OAKLAND — they are saying it’s all downhill once you hit 30 years historical, but try telling that to Kevin Durant.

Opening the 2018 preseason on his 30th birthday, Durant and the leisure of the warriors huge 4 didn’t leave out a beat despite an eventual 114-110 loss to the travelling Minnesota Timberwolves.

“i used to be just making an attempt to get my ancient legs beneath me,” referred to Durant, both-time NBA Champion and Finals MVP. “i was feeling respectable just being lower back out there.”

For Durant, the proposal of having any rust to shake off was right now dispelled in the first half. Scoring 10 features and taking pictures 50 % from the floor, it become business-as-standard for the birthday boy.

In usual vogue, Durant become capable of get to nearly something shot he favored, knocking down two of his three attempted three pointers and displaying off his trademark mid-range jump shot.

As for his “historic legs,” Durant didn’t https://betwin188.websiteappear to be slowed down in the slightest as he become capable of put back a neglected 3-pointer from Stephen Curry with a thunderous slam dunk in his spotlight play of the game.

whereas Durant — together with the leisure of the starters– had been confined to 20 minutes of playing time, in accordance with head educate Steve Kerr, Durant’s 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot will suffice within the first preseason video game of the year.

“i will’t bitch,” Durant pointed out. “It changed into a fine looking decent birthday for me, to be honest.”

along with Durant, the relaxation of the soldiers core 4 followed swimsuit as Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond green gave the impression to be in mid-season kind from the bounce.

Curry would lead the cost because the two-time league MVP discovered the bottom of the net on 5 three-pointers — 4 of which got here in the first quarter.

within the second half, it turned into Thompson’s flip to set the nets on fireplace as he become able to sink all three of his triples in the third quarter. Curry and Thompson would conclude as the Warriors’ two leading scorers with 21 and 17 aspects, respectively.

eco-friendly, while only scoring two points, changed into up to his regular aspect-forward ways, as the Michigan State product dished out eight of the team’s 33 assists within the game.

“Continuity,” talked about Kerr. “It’s quality to be capable of throw lineups available that have been collectively for a few years. These guys are sharp and extremely at ease enjoying together.”

although Golden State would finally end up taking the loss, due to a late-game push by means of the lower back end of Minnesota’s roster, the amazing play from the soldiers starters may still be encouraging for Kerr and the relaxation of the warriors coaching workforce.

Looney, Bell setting up midrange bounce shots

In a two-minute span late in the first quarter, Warriors bigs Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell showcased simply how plenty they’ve accelerated their video game over the route of this past offseason.

Taking tips from Kerr, Looney and Bell found success with their mid-latitude jumpers Saturday night, a ability essentially devoid from Warriors bigs last season.

“We motivate them to shoot the ball,” observed Kerr. “They work challenging on it daily. They can make that shot and that they’re going to get that shot. Defenses are going to supply it to them.”

In 2017, Looney shot eighty five p.c of his photographs from within eight ft of the basket. On the 29 shots taken backyard of the key, Looney shot most effective 34 % from the floor.

even though it become just one shot, the flash of improvement from deep with the aid of Looney is some thing that should bode neatly for the UCLA product because the season progresses.

“It’s whatever I’ve been engaged on all summer time.” stated Looney. “It’s some thing I suppose assured in … It’s anything the entire bigs want; me, Jordan Bell, Danuel House Jr. have been engaged on.”

together with Looney, Bell also confirmed his means to hit from deep. Bell become sub-10 p.c in all pictures past 10 feet in 2017, but his 20-foot jumper came simply 50 seconds after Looney’s 18-footer within the 2d quarter.

“I ain’t gonna lie, I waited for Looney to shoot his first,” noted Bell. “I gave him an assist on his, too. once he shot it, i used to be like, ‘okay, I’m cool now.’”

Bell and Looney labored collectively over the offseason to work on increasing their range. curiously the additional effort has paid off, as they have got now each found success outdoor of the key.

whereas the core place nonetheless up within the air, and is expected to be performed via committee, having two bigs that may stretch the floor and pose a chance beyond 15 toes from the basket is tune to the soldiers ears.

“this is a yr when Looney and Jordan Bell can originate flattening that 15-footer,” mentioned Kerr. “I encourage that.”

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