Nets vs. Warriors to highlight NBA opening night as Durant set to return from injury

©The Mercury News

Stephen Curry will face his old teammate on opening night when the Warriors play Kevin Durant and the Nets in Brooklyn as part of the NBA’s showcase to start the 2020-21 season.

According to The Athletic, the NBA’s tentative Dec. 22 doubleheader also includes a matchup between the Lakers and Clippers, which will tip a condensed 72-game season.

The season opener will mark the first time Curry and Durant have played each other since Durant signed with the Nets last summer. In three seasons from 2016 to 2019, Curry and Durant won two championships and dominated the basketball world until Durant’s torn Achilles in Game 5 of the 2019 Finals ended the dynasty.

Since leaving the Warriors, Durant celebrated his 31st and 32nd birthdays during a meticulous rehabilitation. He’s kept a relatively low profile, deciding not to accompany the Nets in the Orlando, Fla., bubble this summer. But Durant, the two-time Finals MVP, will re-enter the public conscience in a big way: making his Nets debut in a marquee matchup against his former team.

Meanwhile, despite coming off a league-worst 15-50 record last season, the Warriors have been handed two blockbuster games early in the NBA season. They are set to play the Bucks in Milwaukee on Christmas Day.

Clearly, the national demand for Curry is high. The two-time MVP missed nearly all of last season following hand surgery. Although he will have to play this season without teammate Klay Thompson (out with a torn Achilles), Curry will have Draymond Green, second overall pick James Wiseman and several new teammates to help the Warriors return to the postseason.

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©2020 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)