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The Greatest Show In Basketball Is Back

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 16: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors dribbles as Jevon Carter #0 of the Brooklyn Nets defends during the second half at Barclays Center on November 16, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Warriors won 117-99. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

As the saying goes, “The NBA doesn’t begin until Christmas Day.” 

The Warriors and Nets proved otherwise Tuesday night.

In the first marquee matchup of the 2021-2022 regular season, the 11-2 Golden State Warriors traveled to Brooklyn to play the 10-4 Nets, in a matchup of superstars and early-season MVP favorites. 

It’s been nearly three years since Kevin Durant left The Bay Area, wanting to get away from the shadow of Steph Curry, a shadow that never was going to go away as long as Curry remained in Golden State. Much has been said about his departure, with a few petty shots taken along the way. Durant’s relationship with Curry, Draymond Green, and head coach Steve Kerr has been dissected in a number of ways. 

Ultimately, it was simply the case of an all-time great wanting to prove that he could win a championship without the help of potentially the greatest collection of talent the league has ever seen. 

Since his departure, Brooklyn has seemingly had the upper hand — coming within the length of Durant’s big toe of making the Eastern Conference Finals in June — while Golden State has floundered through injuries and the inevitable dip that was always to come after years of tearing through the league. 

Now? Both Durant’s and Curry’s teams are front and center, potentially on a collision course with the destination being the NBA Finals in June. 

Tuesday night in Brooklyn, Curry came out on top, continuing his smoking hot start to the season in a 117-99 Golden State rout. Curry had 19 in the first half, going 5-8 from beyond the arc, starting the game a perfect 4-4 from three. The four most exciting words in sports, “Steph is going off,” are once again backed by a competitive Warriors team. Chants of “MVP” could be heard at Barclays Center as Curry caught fire, ending the night with 37 points on 9-14 shooting from three.

“Yeah, the way the crowd energizes when Steph starts rising up from 30 feet — it’s everywhere,” Kerr said. “It happened in Charlotte the other night. It happened tonight. So I think the fact that our team is good again and is playing well and has a good record adds to what Steph brings to the table every night, in terms of his skill and showmanship. And so that stuff — when you’re winning and you get the incredible display of skill from Steph, people are going to watch. It’s fun to be back in the spotlight again. Our team is really enjoying being back here.”  

As was the case during Golden State’s heyday, it was the third quarter that broke the Nets. 

With Curry in foul trouble, the Warriors outscored the Nets 35-18 in the third quarter, burying Brooklyn before the start of the fourth. 

The Nets struggled mightily to get into an offensive rhythm, shooting 5-22 from the floor in the third quarter, and Durant failed to reach 20 points for the first time this season. 

“Well, I just don’t think we’re in that category yet,” Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash said. “We got a lot of work to do. We’re trying to improve as a group, get better and hopefully we can find a way to overcome some of our deficiencies by the end of the year.”

The NBA is simply more riveting when the Warriors are good, and they’re about to get better with the return of the second “Splash Brother.” 

As reported earlier on Tuesday, Klay Thompson — who hasn’t played in two years due to devastating injuries — is playing five-on-five again, aiming for a return to the court around Christmas. 

“It’s huge,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said of Thompson’s pending return. “From a mental standpoint alone, just huge. So I think it also helps with the way other teams view you as well. So we’re looking forward to getting him back. We know what he brings to the table. We’re not expecting him to be Klay Thompson of 2018 right away, but he’s worked his ass off. He’s worked his ass off for this moment, and I’m looking forward to getting him back out there.”

The Warriors are almost completely back, the Nets have two superstars capable of winning any matchup, and all is right in the NBA again. 

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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