By 28 video games, a lot has gone fallacious for the Nets. Kyrie Irving hasn’t performed a sport. Blake Griffin and James Harden have handled vital struggles. Joe Harris is harm and Nic Claxton missed vital time.
And, but, the Nets personal the most effective document within the Japanese Convention, two video games within the loss column away from the Bulls.
Kevin Durant has had that kind of impact. He neutralizes weaknesses and makes up for key participant absences.
The very best instance was Tuesday evening. With out seven gamers, as COVID-19 hit the Nets arduous, he performed on a sore ankle and led the best way in an overtime win over the Raptors. At one level, it was Durant and 4 rookies, a lineup the Nets had by no means even practiced with. It didn’t matter.
He nonetheless had a triple-double of 34 factors, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in 48 gritty minutes.
“I wasn’t anticipating James [Harden] and Bruce [Brown] to be out till I received to the sport, which was a shock, however that made me much more excited to play this sport with the younger dudes,” Durant mentioned. “I hate that my teammates are out. I want all people was enjoying. However I knew it was a fantastic alternative for all of us to hoop, for one, and simply to see the place we’re in opposition to a strong group.”
This wasn’t within the preseason script. The Nets had been hoping to have the ability to lighten the load on Durant throughout the common season, not enhance it. However Irving declined to comply with New York Metropolis COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and hasn’t been with the group. Griffin hasn’t come near the participant who was so impactful final 12 months, shedding his spot within the rotation till just lately. Harden hasn’t been himself, Harris is out for the foreseeable future after present process ankle surgical procedure final month and Claxton missed 5 weeks with a non-COVID sickness.
It hasn’t stopped Durant from main the league in scoring at 29.6 factors per sport whereas additionally averaging 7.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and taking pictures a strong 52.3 p.c from the sphere. He’s placing up these numbers at age 33 whereas enjoying 36.9 minutes per sport, his most for the reason that 2013-14 season, and guiding the Nets to twenty wins in 28 video games.
“I simply attempt to do what’s required, man,” Durant mentioned. “I imply, I wish to be on the market. I wish to play. I wish to win, so it begins there. So no matter I received to do to perform these three issues, I’m going to do.”
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