With Covid-19 making its way around the league, the 2021-22 season that started so promisingly is walking a tight rope. Teams have seen their rosters cut to the bare minimum due to health and safety protocols, and the Brooklyn Nets are one of the hardest hit.
A few days ago, James Harden and six other Nets were put into healthy and safety protocols. The situation cost them other key rotation players like Bruce Brown, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Paul Millsap. DeAndre Bembry, who’s had a few good games this season, joined them along with James Johnson and Jevon Carter.
Remember, the Nets still haven’t seen Kyrie Irving play this season, and Joe Harris is recovering from an ankle injury and won’t be back any time soon.
For a lot of people, that would be a legitimate excuse to phone it in. Kevin Durant is not like a lot of people.
KD has gone into full Slim Reaper mode since half his teammates went into healthy and safety protocols. His numbers speak for themselves, and he’s basically single-handedly carried the Nets to three-straight wins since they had their little D-Day.
Everybody knows that KD is one of the best players the league has seen, but we’re seeing a real show of character and leadership. He’s been his usual brilliant self on offense, and being the lone star still standing has made him even more effective. In their most recent game against the Sixers, he personally keyed at 13-4 run to close out the game after it was tied at 101-101. Durant scored or assisted on 11 of those points.
In his recent 51-point explosion against the Detroit Pistons, he was responsible for more points than the whole Pistons squad in the fourth quarter of their game, which started close at 91-86 but ended with a final scoreline of 116-104. He scored 13 points on his own, which tied the Pistons, and also assisted on 6 points.
Against the Toronto Raptors, which ended in a 131-129 overtime victory, Durant had 10 points and 4 assists in the fourth quarter and OT. Let’s be fair, though, while Durant was individually brilliant in that game, Patty Mills deserves as much credit for the win, as he scored 19 points over the same period of time.
Right now, Durant is showing that he can be the heart and soul of a team that is dealing with a crisis. For a guy that’s taken a lot of shit during his career for taking the easy road, that’s got to be satisfying.