With Kevin Durant back, Warriors enter playoffs as clear front-runners

For someone who thought less than six weeks ago that he’d broken his leg, this wasn’t half bad.

Kevin Durant, as evidenced by his plus-22 outing in the Golden State Warriors’ 123-101 win over the New Orleans Pelicans at Oracle Arena on Saturday night, is not only healthy again but still very good at this game of basketball.

The mid-range pull-up, with that impossible-to-guard sweep through leading up to it, was still there on this night where he finished with 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting. The fluid motion on drives, those long strides that cover so much ground, were as effective as ever. The defensive impact hasn’t gone anywhere, either, that pride he takes in hitting the glass (a game-high 10 rebounds in all) and pushing the tempo as a playmaker for the league’s best offense (six assists). And most of all, after Durant’s worst fears about a leg break weren’t realized and he had to recover from the Grade 2 MCL sprain and tibial bone bruise of his left knee suffered back on Feb. 28., the…

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