By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr paid close attention. Teammates, too. Nobody wanted to miss this impromptu, incredible shooting display by two of the world’s best.
Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant took turns firing 3-pointers from all over the court, some 200 of them total, while their coaches-turned-rebounders kept careful count of makes and misses and others watched in awe. Klay Thompson was shooting behind them, “I heard a lot of makes, though.”
Steph edged KD by a single 3, per player development coach Bruce Fraser’s figures from Tuesday’s shootout. Durant later confirmed the final stats.
“That was a really skillful workout right there, there wasn’t a lot of athleticism being shown, but iron sharpens iron,” Durant said. “You only get better when you play with the best and you work with the best.
“I didn’t even realize what we were doing. I was really just focusing on regaining some touch. It was definitely fun working with Steph. He works so hard, he brings something different to the game that I don’t have and I think vice versa. We push each other.”
Special guest Chris Wondolowski got a treat. The San Jose Earthquakes star and U.S. national team forward realized he had come on the right day to witness an amazing show of shot-making. He tweeted Thursday, “It was fun to watch all the work that goes on behind the scenes.”
Even those who see Curry and Durant every day appreciated this performance.
“It was really fun for me to watch,” Kerr said. “It’s really fun to think about, ‘Oh, yeah, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, they’re on our team.'”
And their post-practice shooting went up a notch this week with the playoffs about to begin. The fierce competition on Curry’s regular practice court became all-out entertainment with Durant healthy at last from a left knee injury that sidelined him for 19 games. The session lasted about 30 minutes. They talked and laughed, they cursed a little, they hollered at the basketball to cooperate.
Mostly, it did.
“Anyone that can keep up with Steph is an amazing shooter,” Fraser said. “You can count that on one hand, and Kevin’s one of them.”
Swish after swish, an occasional clank off the rim , but that’s pretty rare for these two. Even when they are making about 100 of them each in a game that’s just for fun.
“Don’t step out of bounds, KD!” Kerr yelled from behind the baseline as Durant let fly a corner 3.
Kerr notes that his pet peeve is seeing players in practice step on the end line — and Durant has big feet so it could easily happen — because then it’s more likely to occur during games.
His two biggest stars were locked in. The contest required each to make five 3s from five different spots, but when neither would miss it often took 10, 11 or 12 straight 3-pointers before someone would win that location and they could move on to the next.
“It was super spontaneous, it wasn’t planned, which is always sometimes the best way,” Fraser said. “It’s good when those two get together for many reasons. It’s good camaraderie, good for them to spend some time together and it’s also a good way for them to compete a little bit. It’s pretty incredible to be able to work with two of the best players in the world on the same court, the same space.”
And you should see that frayed net. Equipment chief Eric Housen acknowledges it’s overdue for a replacement given all the work Curry gives that basket.
The shooting marathon sure seems to have paid off: Durant went 11 for 16 and made 5 of 7 3s a day later in a win Wednesday against the Lakers. Curry also hit five.
“He mentioned that he’s a little hesitant coming off the injury, but he looked real springy,” Curry said afterward. “Obviously found his touch, so that’s a good sign.”
Now they’ll try to transfer that steady shooting and energy to the court when the NBA-best and top-seeded Warriors (67-15) host Portland in Game 1 on Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena.
Playing off ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, they’re calling this friendly game “30 for 35” — for Curry’s No. 30 jersey and KD’s 35.
“Steph said it first, he said ’30-35’ and I put in the ‘for,'” Fraser said. “At the beginning it was just kind of a light shooting where they were moving around and making 21 shots, then they got into a collective make 10 from each space, so it was combined where they were working together. And then we put it where they were going against each other, which was interesting because they kind of both perked up. Neither wanted to lose to the other.”
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