Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here
Kevin Durant understands the scrutiny Kyrie Irving has faced.
Irving was blasted by many for requesting a trade away from LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last year, Durant went through the same with his decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors.
"He chose the basketball route," Durant said to reporters Wednesday night after a Golden State Warriors practice. "He chose to go somewhere where he's going to maximize his basketball skills."
Through his first 14 games with the Celtics, Irving is averaging 20.6 points and 5.2 assists per game.
"He made a basketball move, and that's the most respected move is to keep it at ball. So, he's playing his best basketball," Durant continued.
Headed into Thursday night's game, the Warriors (11-3) and Celtics (13-2) are the two hottest teams in basketball. The Celtics own a 13-game win streak after starting the season off with two straight losses.
"He's stepped into a leadership role and this team has taken off because of him," Durant says on Irving and the Celtics.