One game is in the books and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are already looking like the scariest duo in the NBA.
Opening night is all about overreactions, right? I'll reel things in a bit and say that the two displayed the potential to become one of the league's scariest pairs as they combined to score 48 points on 17-for-32 shooting in just three quarters of action as the Brooklyn Nets cruised to a 125-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors, who were without Draymond Green.
For Brooklyn, things couldn't have gone much better. For Golden State … it's back to the drawing board.
Here are some thoughts from the first game of the 2020-21 NBA season:
1. It's great to watch Kevin Durant play basketball again
After missing the entire of the 2019-20 season due to a torn Achilles suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals, we've finally got a chance to see KD play meaningful basketball once again.
And boy, he's a pleasure to watch.
It took him all of 70 seconds to get on the board with his first bucket of the night.
Welcome back, KD 👏 pic.twitter.com/oEAV6SLwox- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 23, 2020
And he had 10 points in the first three minutes of game time.
Durant went on to finish with 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals, all while making things look so effortless on the offensive end.
2. Kyrie is special
We saw him play in just 20 games last year, so it's easy to forget just how masterful Kyrie Irving is on the basketball court. While much of the excitement surrounded the return of Durant - and rightly so - Irving commanded attention with his play.
Irving came out of the gates firing, getting the Nets on the board to start the game en route to 24 points in the first half.
He only added two more points in the third quarter but his work was already done in the first half. The fit between Irving and Durant already appears seamless, and, while they're sure to encounter plenty of roadblocks, they're only scratching the surface of their potential.
3. Steph's back, too
It wasn't nearly as productive of a night for Stephen Curry, but it's good to have him back in action after he injury limited him to only five games in the 2019-20 season.
Curry finished the night with 20 points while shooting 7-for-21 from the field and 2-for-10 from beyond the arc but also dished out 10 assists and pulled down four boards. Plenty of it can be attributed to rust and getting acclimated to new teammates, as the Warriors largely struggled across the board.
It was also the 700th game of his Hall of Fame career.
4. Kelly OOOH-bre
Kelly Oubre Jr.'s Warriors debut was largely forgettable - he was 3-for-14 from the field and 0-for-6 from deep, but he did have one of the night's biggest highlights with this putback slam.
KELLY OUBRE JR.- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 23, 2020
📺 @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/geq9N5suHE
5. Win. No. 1 for Coach Nash
Steve Nash is a two-time MVP and a Hall of Famer.
Now, he's 1-0 as an NBA head coach.
Nash, whose hire was unexpected by many this past offseason, looked great at the helm of a team with title aspirations. It's a tall undertaking for a first-year head coach, but the longtime floor general looks to have made a seamless transition to the sidelines.
6. Caris and Harris
With the KD and Kyrie hype, it's easy to lose sight of the depth that really makes this Brooklyn team special.
Joe Harris had an efficient night, finishing with 10 points and seven rebounds while shooting 4-for-8 from the field and 2-for-5 from beyond the arc. As for Caris LeVert, it was an impressive night off the bench as he finished with 20 points (on 6-for-17 shooting), nine rebounds, and five assists in under 25 minutes.
HEADS-UP HOOPS FROM @CarisLeVert AND @KyrieIrving pic.twitter.com/My1B1ssBw6- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 23, 2020
Something tells me that these two will lead Brooklyn in scoring at some point this season.
7. Wiseman's debut
A lot happened in this one, including a memorable debut performance from No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman.
At 19, the 7-footer got the start in his first-ever NBA game and is the third-youngest player to start a game for the Warriors in the last 50 seasons. In 24 minutes of action, Wiseman finished with 19 points (on 7-for-13 shooting), six rebounds and two blocks.
He'll never forget his first bucket, either.
welcome to the league @BigTicket_JW pic.twitter.com/DrjUEYT9Pv- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 23, 2020
8. What's next?
Both of these teams are back in action on Christmas Day.
The Nets are set for a big test as they travel to TD Garden to take on the Boston Celtics while things get no easier for the Warriors, who travel to Fiserv Forum to take on reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
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