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The Quiet Thunder of Kevin Durant

AP Photo

Kevin Durant stepped onto the court at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Tuesday around 7 p.m., joining his teammates from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the customary pregame ritual of the two-line layup drill. His first shot was not a shot, but a crisp dunk. Curling back to midcourt, Durant noticed Deron Williams of the Nets, one of his colleagues on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, and gave him a quick hug. He jumped back in line, where he swiveled for a nifty reverse layup. Then another dunk. Durant began taking shots: manageable 14-footers from the corners, short-range jumpers in which his heels barely left the floor. He practiced a tall, arcing shot that plunged toward the rim like coin falling off a table. Basketball players at every level love to waste warm-up time heaving up long...

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