Rewind: Durant Makes First Warriors Triple-double Look ‘effortless'

OAKLAND – The game of basketball is not as easy, can't possibly be as casually spectacular, as Kevin Durant makes it seem.

Once past the dazzling array of scoring moves, the ability to rebound in traffic, block shots at the rim and passes his teammates into easy bucks, the ease with which it seems to occur is where the amazing reveals itself.

This much was on full display Friday night at Oracle Arena, where Durant greased the Warriors to a 108-99 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Durant spent the first three quarters playing the game as if he invented it, scoring 16 points (on 7-of-10) shooting, grabbing 10 rebounds and recording 10 assists, his first triple-double as a Warrior – all in merely 26 minutes.

And all of it occurred with a minimum of perspiration.

"It's just who he is and how he plays," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

"He's a great passer, he can score anytime and he's one our best rebounders. The triple-double is just a byproduct of who he is."

Yet was Durant's first in a Warriors jersey.

"Honestly, I didn't know this was his first one," Draymond Green said. "I thought he already had one. I know he's had several games when he was right there, so I thought he already had one.

"But it's good to see him put those type numbers up. When he's putting those type numbers up, we're a very good team."

While others – notably Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Houston's James Harden – have been racking up triple-doubles on a frequent basis, Durant has been no less superb. He has been the best player on the Warriors, who happen to have the best record in the NBA.

Durant's final stats don't jump off the page: 19 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in 35 minutes. He was quick to point out that he had four of the team's 13 turnovers.

"I looked up as I was walking out of the game and I said, ‘I felt like I didn't force it,' " Durant said. "I wasn't really looking for it. And my teammates, Klay (Thompson) hit some tough shots with the last few assists. "We were just moving the ball, playing with each other's screens, helping each other rebound. And that's all that matters when we do it together.

"On any given night, anyone can have one. Steph (Curry), Draymond, Zaza (Pachulia) . . . anyone could have one of those triple doubles."

The triple-double usually is the domain of the point guard. The all-time list is rife with names like Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd – the three men atop the all-time list. The only frontcourt players among the top 10 are Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird and LeBron James.

Which is not to suggest Durant, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward, will join them. Despite his vast skills, this was only the eighth of his career.

But the smoothness with which he collected the numbers on Friday suggests there will be more such nights.

"He's so effortless out there, you forget how talented he is," said Thompson, who scored a game-high 29 points, 17 of which came in the third quarter. "He does everything. It's easy to fall in love with his scoring ability, but he does everything great.

"He's going to be huge for us. We expect him to play at that level the whole year, and he's been tremendous."

It was enough on this night to help the Warriors coast to victory. At 29-5, they own the best record in the NBA. They probably wouldn't have such a glossy record without Durant, and if they did there'd be a lot more sweat on the floor.

Copyright CSNBY - CSN BAY
Contact Us