Kevin Durant and the Warriors don’t have to like it, they may not understand it, but this is going to be their reality on the road this season:
During the introductions and every time Durant touched the ball Saturday night — in a preseason game in Vancouver against the Raptors — the crowd was not saying “boo-urns” they were full-throated booing. The other Warriors were roundly cheered by the fans excited to have the NBA back in the city (even if it is preseason), but Durant was greeted like a traitor in a town that doesn’t even have an NBA team. (If you want to argue there was a mix of cheers and boos you can, but the boos sounded louder.)
Durant himself shrugged at the reaction to his leaving Oklahoma City to form a superteam, as reported by Monte Poole at CSNBayArea.com.
“I heard more cheers than boos, to be honest,” he said. “But I was just so locked in, trying to get ready for the game, I wasn’t really focused on (the reaction) or listening too hard for any boos or anything. I heard the cheers, though.”
“It’s just funny,” Curry said. “I highly doubt anybody in this arena was affected by (Durant’s free-agent decision). It’s just funny kind of buying into a narrative that doesn’t really make sense. It probably won’t be the last time. But he handles it well and at the end of the day it’s just about playing basketball.”
Playing basketball is something Durant and the Warriors didn’t do terribly well in this preseason game, falling to the Raptors 97-93. The Warriors looked like a team still trying to fit the puzzle pieces together (which they are). Durant had nine points on 2-of-9 shooting, and with three turnovers.
The Warriors will figure things out and get better. The boos, however, aren’t going away this season. Golden State needs to embrace its new role as villains, whether it thinks it earned that reputation or not.