Kevin Durant showed few effects from a knee injury as he returned to the court Saturday night, according to Janie McCauley of The Associated Press. The former MVP had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and seemed to move fine on his left knee after suffering a Grade 2 MCL sprain that sidelined him for 19 games. Golden State originally feared he would be lost for the season when he the injury occurred February 28th. “I think he looked great. It’s going to be hard for anybody to take off a month and come back and put on a great show,” said teammate Klay Thompson. “It was great to see that first play, him attacking the rim like that.”
There’s more this morning from the Pacific Division:
- Durant’s return solves the Warriors’ depth problem at the wing and makes them clear favorites to win the West, writes Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com. Seven Golden State players reached double figures Saturday in a blowout of the Pelicans. Having Durant in the lineup puts the Warriors’ “super team” at full strength heading into the playoffs. “It felt normal again,” Durant said. “I’m a basketball player. I love playing basketball; that’s my favorite thing to do. So to feel like I’m part of the team, to feel like I’m a part of this energy that we have, it feels great.”
- One concern that came out of Saturday’s game was a right ankle sprain suffered by forward Matt Barnes in the second quarter. However, Barnes said he expects to be ready when the playoffs start next weekend, tweets Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com. The 36-year-old signed with the Warriors in early March in the wake of Durant’s injury.
- Draymond Green, one of the favorites to be named Defensive Player of the Year, had an in-depth talk about his defensive philosophy with Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News. Green has finished second in the balloting for the award the past two seasons.