Warriors

Kevin Durant becomes second youngest in NBA history to 20,000 points

Kevin Durant becomes second youngest in NBA history to 20,000 points

Kevin Durant is the 44th member of the NBA's 20,000-point club.

After missing the last three games with a right calf strain, Durant had been sitting on 19,975 points since Jan. 3.

He apparently wanted to get the milestone out of the way as quickly as possible.

In his first game back, Durant scored his 25th point of the game on a jump shot with 1:41 left in the second quarter Wednesday against the Clippers. He finished the half with exactly 25 points.

At 29 years and 103 days, Durant is the second youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000 points behind only LeBron James, who accomplished the feat at 28 years and 17 days. Kobe Bryant at 29 years and 122 days was previously the second fastest to accomplish the feat.

Upon returning to the locker room at halftime, Durant was greeted by an injured Steph Curry who was filming the whole interaction. He posted it to his Instagram Story.

"Hey congratulations big fella, I got the first video of the second youngest player with 20,000 points. Ahahahaha. Congrats big fella," Curry told Durant.

Durant, 44th on the NBA's all-time scoring list, is closing in on former Warriors forward Antawn Jamison (20,042) for 43rd all-time.

Before Wednesday's game, head coach Steve Kerr was asked about Durant as he approached the milestone.

"He can do anything he wants. He's one of those rare guys that has an answer for everything. He can go right around bigger guys, he can post up small guys, he can dribble into a 3, he can spot up for a 3, he can come off a pick. I mean, he can do anything against anybody. Coaching against him, that was the fear. You really didn't know what to do with him. And coaching him, that's the joy. You just plug him in," Kerr said. "I think the beauty of what Kevin has done for us here is that he understands that he doesn't have to be the man, that this has been Steph's team for many years. But there are times when he does need to be the man, like the Finals last year or when Steph goes out with an injury. And Kevin has this incredible, humble way about him where he could demand the ball and demand a bigger responsibility, but he doesn't necessarily need that. He just wants to be a part of it. He accepts that responsibility when we need him. He averages whatever he does, 25, 26 points a game, and Finals MVP and all this. But when he needs to step back, he just steps back. He's an amazing player, both in terms of skill and humility."

Durant never expected to see his name among the greats of the game.

"I had one goal when I came into the league, and that was for me to win Rookie of the Year, and I just kept building after that. My second year, I wanted to average 25. Every year I had a goal, but I never envisioned me with 20,000 points, 30,000 points," Durant told ESPN.

The next round number for Durant is 25,000 points. Only 20 players are currently part of that club, although Carmelo Anthony will get there soon. Vince Carter needs 344 points to get there.

Gameday: Look for Curry to make statement against rising Bulls point guard

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Gameday: Look for Curry to make statement against rising Bulls point guard

The Warriors will be without Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, when they aim to tie a franchise record for consecutive road wins Wednesday as they face the improving Chicago Bulls at United Center.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 5:05.

In seeking their 14th straight road win, the Warriors (36-9) will be confronting quite a different herd of Bulls than the team they crushed 143-94 two months ago in Oakland. Neither Kevin Durant nor Green was available in that rout, which that was the highest point total allowed by the Bulls since November 1990.

After a 3-20 start, the Bulls (17-27) righted themselves with a seven-game win streak in December and have won 14 of their last 21. The offense has steadily improved, averaging 94.5 points in October/November to 112.0 in January.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 8

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Kris Dunn: Several factors are responsible for the rise of the Bulls, but none may be more important than the play of Dunn, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft. Acquired in the June 2017 trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, Dunn is the engine of a Chicago offense that since Dec. 6 has operated at the fifth-fastest pace in the NBA. He averaged 12.0 points and 8.4 assists over the last five games. Curry missed most of December but has been playing well since returning. He loves the challenge of a rising point guard. He’ll be out to make a statement.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Draymond Green (R shoulder soreness) and F Andre Iguodala (L calf contusion) are listed as out.

Bulls: G Cameron Payne (R foot surgery) is listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2.

Bulls: 5-5.

GAME OFFICIALS

Ron Garretson (crew chief), Mark Ayotte, Scott Twardoski

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first of two meetings this season, 143-94, on Nov. 24 in Oakland. The teams split the series last season, each winning on its own floor. The Warriors have won six of the last nine meetings overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

KD UNLEASHED: Since returning Jan. 10, after a three-game absence, Durant has been on a tear, averaging 30.8 points on 62.5-percent shooting, including 60 percent from beyond the arc. Most teams don’t have anyone that matches up with him, and the Bulls certainly don’t. The closest is Lauri Markkanen, and though he has the length (7 feet), he has no chance of slowing Durant. All indications point to another big night.

THE BOMBERS: Chicago has made at least 10 3-pointers in each of its last nine home games, the longest such streak in franchise history. They’ve made at least 15 treys in each of the last three games. Rookie forward Markkanen drilled his 100th career triple in his 41st game, the fastest rate in league history. He averaged 23.0 points over his last three games, making 15 3-pointers in the process. With Green out, the Warriors will give him a variety of looks, with one of them being Durant.

WARRIORS DEPTH: The absence of Green and Iguodala will hurt the Warriors, who are playing their fourth game in six nights. Jordan Bell will start for Green, but the Warriors will have to alter their offense -- Green leads team in assists -- while patching together a defense that will be without two players that make an impact on that end. Omri Casspi, Kevon Looney and Pat McCaw will have opportunities.

DeRozan fined by NBA for comments made after Raptors' loss to Warriors

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DeRozan fined by NBA for comments made after Raptors' loss to Warriors

Following Toronto's 127-125 loss to the Warriors on Saturday night, Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan wasn't happy.

His team had almost erased a 27-point deficit and he felt like the officials were helping the Warriors.

"It's frustrating being out there feeling like you're playing 5-on-8. Some of those calls were terrible, period," DeRozan told reporters after the game.

As you might imagine, the NBA wasn't thrilled with thoses comments and fined DeRozan $15,000 on Tuesday for public criticism of the officiating.

DeRozan's incident is the latest in a long list of greivances between the players and the officials. The two sides met face-to-face in late December and plan to meet again during All-Star weekend in February to discuss the growing tension.