Playing in OKC is no longer a big deal for Durant: 'Just a regular game'

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AP

Playing in OKC is no longer a big deal for Durant: 'Just a regular game'

Kevin Durant in his first season with the Warriors faced three benchmark games, two of which were against the Cavaliers and, specifically, LeBron James. The third was his return to Oklahoma City, where Durant created his NBA legend.

With all eyes on him, Durant aced all three exams. He was individually better than LeBron, twice, and when he arrived in Oklahoma City last February, with thousands of emotionally wounded fans targeting him for ridicule, he ravaged his former team.

Durant totaled a team-high 34 points (12-of-21 shooting, including 3-of-6 from deep, 7-of-7 from the line), nine rebounds and three assists in a 130-114 rout.

So there will be no such dramatic backdrop Wednesday when Durant takes the floor at Chesapeake Energy Arena, and it is anticipated his sprained left ankle will have healed sufficiently enough to allow him to play. Regardless of whether he plays, hHs return this time simply will not generate the tremendous local turbulence it did last season.

“It was a pretty fun moment to be a part of,” Durant told reporters at practice Tuesday. “You always respect the players on the court. And the people that have stuff to say about what’s going on on the court, they really don’t matter.

“So I just tried to go out there and think about that. Just realize that the players on the court are the most important and I know if I don’t focus and lock in, I won’t play to the best of my ability. I tried to block out all the nonsense and the BS and just go out there and play.”

There should be considerably less BS and nonsense this time around, for this is a more evolved Durant and this is not the OKC team he left behind, shattered in a dozen little pieces scattered around a new solo act that was Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook now has two fellow All-Stars at his side. OKC general manager Sam Presti navigated offseason deals to acquire both Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. There is a sense that the reloaded Thunder can make some playoff noise, and that matters in the wake of a steep drop last postseason.

Having spent most of a day interviewing locals in advance of the Warriors-Thunder game last season, it was apparent those folks were heartbroken by KD’s departure but perhaps more crestfallen about what little was left of their beloved team.

Durant, who remains connected to some of his personal causes in OKC, seems to recognize that. It’s enough to assuage any unease he may have felt for the fans that once adored him.

Asked Tuesday if there was any lingering sentiment about returning to the place where he spent eight seasons, Durant barely hesitated.

“No, it’s just a regular game for me now,” he said. “I learned how to tune out the crowd. I learned how to tune out the b------t and just play. Just keep it at basketball and I’ll be all right.”

It has been 16 months since Durant woke up on the morning of July 4 and announced his decision to sign with the Warriors. Durant has adapted to the Bay Area. He drives the local streets, rides BART every so often and has his favorite spots. He has his hands all over the high-tech industry that drives so much of the energy here.

Durant has moved deeply into the next phase of his career and has his eyes on his post-career options. OKC was home for most of his NBA life, but he now lives elsewhere.

Kevin Durant is in a good place, in most every way, and he likes it.

“I’ve been in the league for this long and been in every situation as a basketball player: losing games, winning games, overtime games, winning a championship, losing a championship, MVP, coming in second in the MVP,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been through everything in the league as an individual player. All those experiences have given me knowledge and given me insight on the game and what it’s about.

“It’s pretty simple when you think about it. You work, you work, you work. You gain experience, you gain knowledge and when it’s time to give it to somebody else you do it. When it’s time to apply it to your game, you just apply it when you play. “

When KD steps on the floor Wednesday and sees George and Anthony behind Westbrook, he can’t help but feel the difference. He has moved on and so have the Thunder.

There is reason, good reason, to believe the man when he says going back this time is just another game.

JaVale McGee wins fun bet with Steph Curry over Nevada-Davidson game

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AP

JaVale McGee wins fun bet with Steph Curry over Nevada-Davidson game

UPDATE (9:01pm PT): It's fanny pack time for Steph Curry.

His Davidson Wildcats lost to JaVale McGee's Nevada Wolf Pack 81-68 on Tuesday night, meaning the Warriors' point guard will have to wear a fanny pack to at least three games.

McGee and his alma mater wasted no time celebrating their big victory.

No response from Curry yet. We'll find out Wednesday if he makes good on his obligation to wear the fanny pack.

***

When your alma mater plays the alma mater of your teammate, you have to put a wager on the outcome of the game.

That's exactly what Steph Curry and JaVale McGee have done for Tuesday night's clash between the Davidson Wildcats and Nevada Wolf Pack.

But money isn't on the line. Public embarrassment is, though.

Curry and McGee shared the wager on Twitter ahead of the 7pm PT tip-off.

If Curry's Wildcats win, McGee has to serve as his caddie for one round of golf and the Warriors center can't use a golf cart. He has to walk and carry Curry's clubs. Curry originally suggested three rounds, but lowered the number to one,

If McGee's Wolf Pack win, Curry has to wear a fanny pack to at least three games. McGee is famous for always having a fanny pack around his waist.

https://twitter.com/StephenCurry30/status/933157594268651520

Gilbert Arenas: Steph Curry is not a Top 5 point guard

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Gilbert Arenas: Steph Curry is not a Top 5 point guard

Calm down Warriors fans.

Gilbert Arenas is just looking to make headlines (and it worked).

On the most recent episode of his show "Out of Bounds," Arenas unveiled his Top 5 point guards in the NBA:

1) Chris Paul
2) LeBron James
3) John Wall
4) Damian Lillard
5) Ben Simmons

Just to be clear -- Arenas repeatedly harped on the definition of "point guard" and considers guys like Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook "combo guards" or "scorers."

But obviously, his list is silly and full of contradictions. For one -- Lillard is a "scorer" who is averaging 6.2 assists (Curry is averaging 6.5) and is shooting only 40 percent from the field this season.

"I can't put Curry as a Top 5 point guard," Arenas explained. "You know he hasn't actually led the Golden State Warriors in assists ... you're a guard, you're a scorer ... if I pass the ball to Klay Thompson 15 times ... that means I get six assists a game.

"Then you have KD on your team, pick-and-roll pass it back -- he's gonna make at least six of those. So the fact that you're not averaging 12 assists from just two of these guys, is a problem."

Note to Arenas: Curry led the Warriors in assists in five of his first six seasons.

The other two hosts -- Adam Caparell and Pierce Simpson -- constantly brought it to Arenas' attention that the modern NBA is different and positions are not nearly as defined as they once were.

But Arenas didn't really want to hear any of that.

In his dissection of Harden, Arenas made it very clear that he is not a fan of Harden's turnover numbers.

"If the guy throws 25 passes -- 13 made buckets and 13 turnovers -- he is not considered a great playmaker," Arenas declared. "Thirteen assists compared to his 5.5 turnovers. He's not even 2 to 1 guys. Come on. He's not even 2 to 1. If you're saying a great guard, yes. He's a great guard. Combo guard."

Two things:

1) 13 + 13 = 26
2) 13 to 5.5 actually is greater than 2 to 1. It's 2.36 to 1

Oh well.

Caparell's Top 5:

1) Russell Westbrook
2) Steph Curry
3) Kyrie Irving
4) Damian Lillard
5) James Harden

Simpson's Top 5:

1) James Harden
2) John Wall
3) Russell Westbrook
4) Steph Curry
5) Giannis Antetokounmpo

This was a big waste of time, wasn't it?

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller