Derrel “Jazz” Johnson, SNYNets.com
NEW YORK — Kevin Durant got some shots up and tried to get acclimated to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center before squaring off against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night. In a word, Durant said he is “excited” to play in Brooklyn, and entering play on Dec. 4, the Thunder, at 5-2, are the NBA’s second best road team, trailing only the San Antonio Spurs (9-2).
Durant spoke to the media after the team’s shootaround before their first game in New York City versus the Brooklyn Nets. “…First time I’m here,” Durant said. “As an East Coast guy, [I'm] excited.”
Playing at Barclays Center against the improved Nets, Durant, who’s 26.2 points per game rank him third in the NBA behind Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony, will look to propel his team to a victory in somewhat familiar territory. Durant, of course, is from the Washington, D.C. area. Locals refer to his area as the “DMV,” standing for “D.C., Maryland, Virginia.”
During the 2011 NBA Lockout, Durant spent a lot of time in New York City, participating in meetings with the NBA player’s union as well as participating in street ball games at some of New York’s legendary playgrounds, such as Harlem’s Rucker Park.
Durant was slated to play in an exhibition game in Brooklyn, but it never came to fruition. So on Tuesday night, Brooklyn will have the pleasure of seeing Durant play for the first time.
Durant is known primarily as a scorer, but this season, is averaging career bests in both rebounds per game (8.7) and assists per game (4.3). When asked about being more of a playmaker this season, Durant responded simply. “It opens stuff up at the end of games,” he said.
A great player expanding his game: that’s what Durant is, and the Nets—primarily Gerald Wallace—will be faced with the challenge of slowing the gifted scorer down.