Patrick Baldwin enjoys challenging Kevin Durant from Warriors Draymond Green


BROOKLYN — The bottom line was pretty predictable when the Warriors trailed by 30 points at 5:06 of the second quarter on Wednesday night’s final stretch. 143-113 loss to the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Centre. Nets coach Jack Vaughn called a timeout, which put Kevin Durant and others back in the game.


During that timeout, Draymond Green sent a message to the Warriors’ top pick from last June’s draft who turned 20 five weeks ago. What he said leaked to Patrick Baldwin Jr., and it was a moment he’ll never forget.

“Oh my God, I’ve got a KD,” Green told him.

Baldwin made it a mission he grew up with Simulation of his game after three players: Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant. On Wednesday night in Brooklyn, he stood up for Durant for the first time, and Green promptly challenged the young teammate.

With the Warriors’ six-game road trip coming to a frustrating end, Green could have easily continued to guard Durant or directed someone else to do so. The win was still the goal, though it was a long shot until just a few minutes into the second quarter. The bigger picture is what matters in that moment.

The decision did not result in a miraculous comeback, but could have a positive long-term effect and could be a factor in the best game of Baldwin’s young career.

Baldwin told NBC Sports Bay Area in the Warriors’ locker room after the loss. “There’s no one better to do that for you than Kevin Durant. He even said it himself when I checked in.”

Even though it was only his ninth game in the NBA, Baldwin is very mature and polished for someone who has just graduated from his teenage years. As the son of a college coach, that was part of the reason the Warriors had him head off to the recruiting. Another was the skill he showed against Durant and the net.

For a well-balanced young player, Baldwin’s heart had to throb a little when he first locked eyes with Durant. This is what he and many others aspired to. When he was the nation’s first high school recruit, some experts envisioned a little Durant in the Baldwin game with his long, smooth shot.

Then when he came out of timeout and stomped to the ground, Durant said the thing. Cliché turned into reality.

“It was like, ‘Welcome to the league, young man,'” Baldwin said. “He knows he only does this for a living. He’s got a great level of confidence. I mean, sometimes you’re just at his mercy. He’s a great scorer.”

Immediately, Durant took Baldwin to his left and pulled a pull jacket. Less than 20 seconds later, it was Baldwin’s turn. His first triple attempt of the night was without hesitation and Durant’s left arm outstretched into the left corner.

It was the start of a hot night for Baldwin. He didn’t back down. Durant kept up his game, and so did Baldwin with one of the game’s all-time greats.

Baldwin says Durant wasn’t trash talking to him. Durant’s lips were in no way closed.

“Just a healthy basketball talk, but I’m never going to talk to KD again at this point,” Baldwin said. “I mean, who am I to do that? But no, just healthy basketball talk and any time you’re up against someone like that, it’s just a blessing.”

Watching a movie might be Baldwin’s biggest hobby. He is a basketball junkie who would rather play the tape than play cards or watch movies on the team plane. Yes, a lot of those hours he stared at the screen were Durant.

He did it with his father, Patrick Baldwin Sr., long before the Warriors enlisted. Young Baldwin did that before Wednesday’s game, too. Like a song that can never get out of one’s head, Baldwin recited what he saw from Durant without skipping a beat.

“Yeah, crossover right and left,” Baldwin said, smiling after a sincere laugh. “Right pulling up. Left driving. It’s just little things like you pick up from his game. Right shoulder fade, he doesn’t like the left shoulder.”

“He’s a KD, he does it all. But he has tendencies.”

Durant led the net with 23 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. It was the latest performance in what was an MVP-like season for Durant. Then there’s the essential Baldwin line.

Any shooter wants to say that every shot feels good. As for Baldwin, he knew he could have a big night after his second or third attempt tonight. He hit his first six shots of the night, including his first five 3-point attempts. While he was quiet in the end, Baldwin scored a career-high 17 points on one of the game’s best plays.

For him, it all started with the confidence Green immediately gave him.

“It was great that he had that kind of confidence that he could put you down as an excellent scorer like that and feel confident with you,” Baldwin said. “I think that in itself took me to a new level of confidence wise, just knowing that a guy like Draymond who won rings with KD decided it was time to guard him for a couple’s possessions.

“It was awesome”.

What made the night even more special was who was in the crowd. Baldwin’s father coached him at the University of Milwaukee Wisconsin, and he’s now an assistant at Georgetown. After falling 84-73 in a battle with UConn on Tuesday night, Baldwin Sr. made it to Brooklyn in hopes of seeing his son play.

Related: How Weisman, Young Warriors Passed the New York Stretch Test

With his busy training schedule, this was actually the first time that Baldwin’s dad got to see him play live in the NBA. What a night to do that, one of them can remember years from now. Baldwin vs. Durant. It’s what parents and kids dream about with every workout shot as a kid.

However, defense and finding wins were Baldwin’s main focus before the Warriors boarded their plane back to San Francisco.

“He didn’t say much about the KD game,” Baldwin said of his conversation with his father after the game, but only said, “Anytime you get a chance, make an impact and make them feel for you.” I feel like I did it defensively for the most part.

“Offensively he will come, I’m still young. But defensively that’s the step a winning team should take.”

The numbers will grow in groups for Baldwin as his role increases. The two titles Durant won with the Warriors are what he has held on to more than anything else.

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