Kevin Durant had himself a great game after finally coming back from another minor injury. He looked damn good on the floor, scoring 33 points on 12 of 21 shooting and 7 of 8 from the free throw line. He also added six rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. He did this while playing just over 28 minutes.
That performance paired perfectly with Kyrie Irving, who also had a monster outing with 34 points, six rebounds, and 12 assists. Their combined powers help them take a 128-119 victory against the Phoenix Suns and push their record to 41-20, giving them a small lead ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers as the East’s number one seed.
The best sight for Nets was was probably seeing Durant pull out his whole bag of tricks in the win, from good drives, bank shots, floaters, and more.
With only 11 games left in the season, the Nets are going to want to carefully manage his playing time and preparing him for the playoffs. At this point, we might see him take another game or two off at some point to let his body rest. While Durant has been elite when taking the floor this season, averaging 27.3 points, five rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 1.3 steals a game, he’s played in less than half of Brooklyn’s 61 games so far.
Durability issues after coming back from a major injury, like Durant’s Achilles year, could become consistent. He clearly still has all of the skills required to perform well, but it’s going to be a question of whether he can consistently play for the Nets – and it doesn’t help that he turns 33 this year.
Now the Nets have to hope that their final superstar, James Harden, can come back within the regular season after re-aggravating his hamstring injury last week. That’s going to still be a rough road, considering he only came back for two games last time before pulling something and then being listed as out indefinitely. At this point, it might be a safer bet to assume that Harden will come back in the first round of the playoffs.
As we’ve shared before, the Durant/Irving/Harden hydra have only taken to the court together seven times. Considering their inconsistent attendance, you have to wonder if they’ll have enough time to really come together in the playoffs. They’ve got some stiff competition to make it to the NBA Finals, especially the 76ers and Bucks. They’ll need all the firepower they can get.