OAKLAND -- In Part II of his three-part preparation for the playoffs, Kevin Durant took another step forward, particularly with respect to his efficiency.
Oh, and one more thing: The incremental improvement shown by Durant on Monday night came while sharing the court with Stephen Curry for the first time since Feb. 28.
“I guess I don’t make him worse after all,” Durant said with a sprinkle of sarcasm after pointing out Curry’s impressive offensive stats in a 105-99 loss to the Jazz at Oracle Arena. “He came out tonight and shot the ball extremely well, got us going on the offensive end. It looks like we can play together.”
While Curry remained in the hot zone he has inhabited for four weeks, scoring a game-high 28 points, including 6-of-8 shooting from deep, Durant submitted numbers identical to those of his first game back last Saturday night.
Playing 32 minutes, Durant finished with 16 points (6-of-12 from the field), 10 rebounds and six assists, leading the Warriors in the latter two categories.
“The flow was there,” Curry said. “It was kind of choppy at first, just the way Utah tried to slow the tempo down. We had some bright spots and some good runs, some good spurts throughout the game. That’ll continue.”
Curry finished plus-9 for the game, Durant plus-8. The only other Warrior deep in the plus category was JaVale McGee, who was plus-6.
Not that Durant, who shot 50 percent Monday, after shooting 40 percent last Saturday, was entirely satisfied with his performance.
“Points, I don’t worry about that because I feel like I’ve got a good advantage on that end,” he said. “But I’ve got to call somebody, because my 3-pointer is not working.”
In the two games he has played in his return, Durant is 12-of-27, 0-of-9 from deep. He’s 12-of-18 on everything else.
“I’ve got to figure that out,” he said of the triples. “They looked great tonight, too. I should’ve been 10-of-12 tonight from the field. I got some shots that I should’ve made that I normally make. But I’ve got to make that call, because my 3-pointer is not working right now.”
On a night Klay Thompson sat out to rest, Kerr, however, had no complaints about Curry or Durant or much of anything else, other than pointing the rebounding discrepancy (49-42).
“I wanted to get KD around 32 minutes, which we did,” Kerr said. “And with Steph, I wanted to get him his usual run. But I didn’t want him to finish the game.
“That was part of the idea tonight was to get them as many minutes together as possible.”