Curry and Du­rant thriv­ing to­gether

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As shootaround wrapped up one morn­ing last week­end, once Stephen Curry had con­cluded his me­thod­i­cal ses­sion flick­ing jumpers from ev­ery spot on the same prac­tice court he al­ways uses, Kevin Du­rant took a pass from the MVP’s main re­bound­ing man, Bruce Fraser, and let fly an extra-long 3-pointer from the right wing. Swish, Steph-style. When Curry re­cently hosted 14 chil­dren and their fam­i­lies through the Make-A-Wish Foun­da­tion and handed out shoes and bags, Du­rant did his part: He walked up and in­tro­duced him­self to all the vis­i­tors, too, with plenty of high-fives.

For ev­ery­one who ques­tioned whether Curry and Du­rant could co­ex­ist and put their egos aside for the greater good a cham­pi­onship chase, of course - the Golden State War­riors are a cou­ple of months into the sea­son and the two su­per­stars are thriv­ing to­gether, feed­ing off one an­other and cher­ish­ing the chance to cre­ate spec­tac­u­lar plays night af­ter night with ar­guably the best team in the NBA.

As far as their on-court chem­istry, it’s ob­vi­ous to any­one who watches they’re hav­ing a blast. And, “they learn a lot from each other . ... They’ve had plenty of dis­cus­sions talk­ing to each other try­ing to help each other out on the floor,” team­mate Ian Clark said. Each guy men­tions ex­pe­ri­enc­ing “wow” mo­ments play­ing along­side the other for a team reg­u­larly reach­ing 30 as­sists. Golden State has even posted a hand­ful of 40-as­sist per­for­mances.

The wow fac­tor

“Most def­i­nitely,” Du­rant said. “The way he shoots the bas­ket­ball com­ing off of curls, off the drib­ble, off the catch, guys fly­ing at him, it’s amaz­ing to see. When he shoots the ball I think ev­ery shot’s go­ing in. I won’t say that about a lot of peo­ple. But it’s still the wow fac­tor when I’m play­ing with him and Klay (Thompson). It def­i­nitely makes my job eas­ier go­ing out there try­ing to get them open, try­ing to make plays for them. It’s def­i­nitely fun. He can get it go­ing.”

Not to for­get Thompson, who scored 60 points in less than three quar­ters against the Pac­ers on Dec 5. Ev­ery­one is get­ting their touches, while Curry and Du­rant seem to take turns on the high­light reel - though they’ve had a bunch of games when both had big nights.

“It’s fun. Ob­vi­ously they’re both so skilled,” War­riors coach Steve Kerr said. “They might be the two most skilled play­ers in the league when you’re talk­ing about the com­bi­na­tion of shoot­ing and pass­ing and cre­at­ing for oth­ers. It’s an in­cred­i­ble lux­ury as a coach to be able to count on guys like that. The fact that they’re so un­selfish just com­pletes it all. They re­ally want to see each other suc­ceed, they want to see their team­mates suc­ceed.”

Against Port­land on Satur­day, the third quar­ter was wind­ing down when Du­rant re­al­ized two de­fend­ers were swarm­ing him and he made a per­fect bounce pass be­tween them to find Curry on the left wing. The MVP knocked down a 3 as the buzzer sounded, Curry pointed at KD and they cel­e­brated with a tame high-five in the blowout.

Fun to watch

“There have been mo­ments through­out the sea­son where I wouldn’t say you’re sur­prised, but it’s kind of just wow mo­ments where you ap­pre­ci­ate the ta­lent on this squad all the way through,” Curry said. Other times, Curry screens for Du­rant on the perime­ter and then the big man re­turns the fa­vor. There was a no-look, over-the-shoul­der al­ley-oop Curry threw to Du­rant off a long heave by Dray­mond Green against In­di­ana ear­lier this month.

“It’s fun to watch,” said for­mer War­riors player and coach Al At­tles. “That’s not easy be­cause there are so many out­side in­flu­ences, but they seem to be on the same page.” Curry, still the last War­riors player an­nounced dur­ing pregame in­tro­duc­tions, and Du­rant are con­stantly look­ing for each other with the right pass, even if it means pass­ing up a shot. Also against the Trail Blaz­ers, Curry handed off to Du­rant, who shim­mied past CJ McCol­lum and drib­bled left into the paint be­fore an em­phatic slam with his right hand over Noah Von­leh. “Kevin, I don’t think there’s ever been any­body quite like him in the NBA be­cause of his size and his skill, what he does at that size,” Kerr said. “Not many have ever done it.” Months ago, as they all met in the Hamp­tons try­ing to per­suade Du­rant to pick Golden State, Curry and the room of All-Stars en­vi­sioned this very kind of depth, dom­i­nance and un­selfish play that has de­fined the War­riors dur­ing an­other sensational start. — AP

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