Warriors’ Durant: Raptors ‘not an up-and-coming team’ anymore

Kevin Durant gives plenty of credit to the Toronto Raptors after beating the Warriors for the second time this season and sees them as a legit contender. Credit: NBC Sports

The Toronto Raptors have been sending a message to the rest of the NBA all season and Wednesday night’s victory over the Golden State Warriors was the loudest statement yet.

The Raptors strolled into Oracle Arena as eight-point underdogs but strutted out of the venue after a 113-93 win. They beat the Warriors in Toronto two weeks ago in an overtime thriller but Golden State didn’t have Steph Curry nor Draymond Green that night.

Curry and Green did play Wednesday yet perhaps the most impressive element of Toronto’s win was that they did it without their best player, Kawhi Leonard, who had the night off.

The 20-point victory saw the Raptors improve to a league-best 23-7.

Warriors star Kevin Durant was asked post-game what he thought two wins in quick succession over the defending champions would do for a “young team” like the Raptors. This spurred Durant to give his take on the Eastern Conference leaders.

“They got veterans over there. I don’t understand what you mean with ‘young team,'” Durant said. “They got champions over there – Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard. They’ve got guys that have played in big playoff games like Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas. They’re not young players.”

It was a total team effort from the Raptors. Ibaka and Lowry led the way with double-doubles – Ibaka with 20 points and 12 rebounds, Lowry with 23 points and 12 assists. All five starters reached double-digit points and the bench chipped in with 32 points and 21 boards. Point guard Lorenzo Brown was the only Raptors player not to score a point after going 0-for-1 from the floor in five minutes of action.

The Raptors and Warriors aren’t scheduled to meet again this season. The only way that could happen is if both teams advance to the NBA Finals.

“They got a great mix of veterans and young players,” Durant added. “They got a new coach, but the leaders of that team have been through some wars, so I wouldn’t call them a young team, or I won’t say that because they’ve beaten us two times it’s going to give them extra confidence. They’ve been ballin’ before and they’re going to be ballin’ after they beat us.

“They’re not an up-and-coming team. They’re here.”

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