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Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving shine as Nets roll past Warriors to tip off NBA season

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There are concerns that chemistry issues could creep up to derail the Brooklyn Nets.

So far so good for the NBA’s most compelling new lineup.

The Nets were as good as advertised on Tuesday in a 125-99 romp over the Golden State Warriors to tip off the 2020-21 NBA season. In a matchup rife with storylines, the tandem of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant was a resounding success in its regular-season debut.

Kevin Durant quells Achilles concerns early

Durant came out of the gates scorching hot. His 10-point first quarter pushed Brooklyn to a 40-25 lead and quickly quelled any concerns that his devastating Achilles injury from the 2018-19 NBA Finals would hamper his return to action.

In his first game since that injury with actual NBA stakes attached, Durant looked very much like his unguardable self.

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By halftime, Irving had claimed his stake, leading all scorers with 24 points as Brooklyn extended its lead to 63-45. He and Durant were getting along just fine.

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Stars sit late in blowout

By the time it was over, the Nets’ dominance prompted the Warriors to wave the white flag after three quarters as both teams benched their stars for the game’s final stanza. In his Brooklyn debut, Durant tallied 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in 25 minutes of play.

Irving added 26 points with four rebounds and four assists with the same playing time. He was hot from distance, hitting 4 of 7 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.

As for Steve Nash? He’s now 1-0 as an NBA head coach.

Through one game, everything is going as planned in Brooklyn.

Kevin Durant dribbles against Stephen Curry.
The Nets were as good as advertised in Kevin Durant's Brooklyn debut. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Rough start for Warriors

For the Warriors? It was an ominous start to a season already derailed by Klay Thompson’s Achilles injury. In a season that Golden State had initially hoped to jump back into the championship fray, they looked a lot closer to a lottery team in a matchup with a top-tier opponent.

Stephen Curry struggled from the floor in his return from a hand injury that cut short his 2019-20 season. He logged a 7 of 21 effort from the field that included hitting 2 of 10 from 3-point distance en route to 20 points and 10 assists. There were no Steph shimmies to be found on Tuesday.

There was some love for Durant, his former teammate on a pair of championship teams.

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The much-anticipated debut of James Wiseman was a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable game as the rookie center tallied 19 points and six rebounds as a starter in his NBA debut.

His first NBA bucket was a likely harbinger of things to come.

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Wiseman’s minus-10 in the plus/minus column was the best by far among Warriors starters with Curry posting a minus-23.

Tuesday was obviously a minimal sample size in a pandemic-shortened 72-game season. But the Nets and Warriors look like teams headed in opposite directions.

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