Basketball

Kevin Durant expects ‘smooth ride’ after 18-month layoff

Kevin Durant says the quality of his Brooklyn Nets teammates promises him a "smooth ride" in his return from an 18-month NBA absence after a devastating torn Achilles tendon.

The return of one of the NBA's most formidable scoring threats - the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2014 and a two-time NBA Finals MVP with the Golden State Warriors - has sparked excitement among fans and pundits eager to see Durant in top form and curious as to how he will mesh with star teammate Kyrie Irving.

They won't have to wait long for a first look, with the Nets hosting the Warriors in the first game of the season tomorrow.

Durant insists the clash is no grudge match, calling it "just a regular game". In this year's abbreviated pre-season - shortened as the league returns to action barely two months after the Lakers capped the pandemic-disrupted 2019/20 campaign with a 17th championship - Durant has offered tantalising glimpses of his old form.

But the 10-time All-Star said after a 25-point performance in a pre-season victory over the Boston Celtics that he expects to continue to improve.

"Having a team like we have, those guys support me every time I step on the floor, try to put me in great positions to be successful," Durant said. "So if we continue to do that, this will be a smooth ride for me as I get back into the swing of things."- AFP

Basketball