NEW YORK – Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant both can single-handedly play a game.
But the Warriors are best when both former MVPs work in lockstep and mutually reinforce each other to form the strongest 1 -2 punch in the league. What makes their partnership so special is that despite their immense talent, they are as selfish as any all-star tandem in NBA history.
In the leading Golden State to have a 5-1 start, Curry and Durant have been spinning in the spotlight as they cheer each other on. With these two in sync at the start of the season, the rest of the league is struggling to find answers.
Leave Durant one-to-one and drill turnaround jumpers over the outstretched arms of his helpless defender. Lose Curry along the perimeter ̵
Who: Warrior (5-1) at Nets (2-3)
TV / Radio: NBCSBA / 95.7  "It was fantastic to see them in such a groove so early in the season," said Kevon Looney. "They can not save us with these great achievements to win games, but as long as they do, we will continue to enjoy it."
Although the sample size is small, Curry and Durant are better together than ever, since Durant 27 months ago has decided that they are better off challenge LeBron James together.
Curry and Durant rank second and sixth in the NBA, respectively, in points per game. Twice this season, they both scored at least 30 points in the same game.
Curry has made at least five threes in his first six games to match George McCloud's NBA record. 96 season. To score 57 points at the weekend in Washington, Curry needed only 32 minutes and 24 shots.
Late in the first quarter of the game, while Curry was in the middle of a fierce shooting run, Durant shouted to him, "Shoot the ball!" Curry had barely crossed the opposite free-throw line.
Two nights later, at Madison Square Garden, it was Curry who pleaded with Durant to shoot. To help Golden State slip late against the Knicks, Durant scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to make a career in each quarter.
"Slightly, we'll be fans on the field and just look great," said Curry
In 2016-17, after Curry and Durant needed a few months to play together, they silenced everyone, wondering if Durant's addition would destroy the Warriors' chemistry. After Curry and Durant worked together, Golden State stormed into their second NBA championship in three years, overtaking opponents in the playoffs by 13.5 points per game.
This balance was much harder for Curry and Durant in their second season. After flooding the competition last season, they had a better sense of how to make life difficult for them, get more physical with Curry and place several bodies in front of Durant to deny him the ball. It did not help that Curry and Durant missed because of injuries at various points for a long time.
Since Curry was not used for most of March and April, Durant became the undisputed No. 1 of the Warriors. An offense based on Curry's three-point exploits and spontaneous outbreaks of glee became dependent on Durant's ability to beat his man out of the dribble.
Now both 30 years old, Curry and Durant help each other to find a new level of brilliance to navigate the next stage of their careers. 29 other teams face a sobering truth: there is no obvious defense for two generations that maximizes each other's gifts.
"What makes them so unique is that they are all superstars, and yet everyone is perfectly prepared to sit back and let others do their thing," said Steve Kerr, head coach of Golden State. "This kind of unselfish nature easily comes to them, and it's a dramatic momentum for our team if you have it."
Connor Letourneau is an associate of the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Con_Chron