Kevin Durant remains struggling to keep up with his new Brooklyn Nets appearance.
The Nets announced Sunday that Durant would miss “at least” the next two games with a left hamstring injury.
The team characterized the injury as “minor” but said in a statement that Durant would be best on Monday’s game in Sacramento and Tuesday’s game in Phoenix while undergoing treatment.
Durant was out of a week-long break on Saturday and played 33 minutes in the Nets’ away win at the Golden State Warriors. Durant was put into NBA health and safety protocol on February 5 after close contact with a team employee who tested positive for COVID-19.
Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving gave the Nets a stellar trio that only a handful of teams in the NBA have been able to match, but the group has been limited so far this season. This trio, formed after Harden was acquired via trade in mid-January, recorded only seven games together.
According to ESPN, the Nets have used 17 different starting lineups this season, the most in the NBA.
Durant has missed nine of the Nets’ 28 games this season, and Brooklyn 2-3 without Durant since being swapped for Harden last month. Durant has averaged 29 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game this season after being sidelined throughout 2019-20 due to recovery from a torn Achilles injury in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
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DeAndre Jordan is on course to get back with the Nets for their clash against the Sacramento Kings on Monday, but Brooklyn will once again be understaffed. Kevin Durant will miss Monday against Kings and Tuesday vs Phoenix Suns with a minor hamstring injury.
Jordan missed Saturday night’s big win over the Golden State Warriors for personal reasons. It was his first absence this season. Monday will mark the fourth game Durant has not played in Brooklyn’s last five games. His previous absence was due to NBA COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and this is the first time Durant has sustained a hamstring injury as a member of the Nets.
Bruce Brown or Jeff Green would start for the Nets without Durant – though, both could be starters if Brooklyn is to play small at any point.
The Nets believe they have won on the road. What they got was one of their worst crashes in years, served with a side order of a simple pie.
From missing a huge lead to missing Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot’s penultimate layup, Brooklyn had a 149-146 blast in Washington.
The Nets (13-9) took over against the worst team in the East, missing a four-game winning streak and plenty of advantages along the way. They lost an 18-point lead in the first half and a five-point lead with 12.3 seconds to play in a defeat that defied confidence.
“It doesn’t mean enough to stop. “Maybe we thought we had it already, but too many times we let them swing on the track and do layups,” said coach Steve Nash. “We just got off our feet, thought we were going to win, and it was a dangerous game to play.”
It’s a game that costs the Nets a lot.
“This is a tough one,” said Kevin Durant, whose 37 points were wasted. “We gave up 149 points, 108 shots. It doesn’t look good for us defensively, giving up a lot of points. “
Even after complacency and squandering an 18-point lead, Kyrie Irving (26 points, eight assists) put the Nets back ahead 146-141 with 12.3 seconds remaining.
But the Nets scored six game-changing points in 3.8 seconds.
First Bradley Beal – who scored 22 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter – scored 30 footers. Then, after Joe Harris made a turnover on inbounds – Durant cut in one direction and Harris threw another – Russell Westbrook (41 points) drilled 3 with 4.3 seconds remaining to give the Wizards their first lead of the second half.
The Nets never recovered.
“It was just a stupid mistake on my part,” Harris said. “I tried to get the ball out quickly and pass it to Kevin, and that was one of those things where he cut over the edge and I threw the ball where I thought he was going to go.
“I have time to rest. I should have been more aware of it and just kept the ball. Obviously it was a big mistake on my part, especially at such a stretch. It belongs to the right time. Even though his defensive efforts are not great we still have to win this game and a lot of that depends on having a timely possession at the end. “
Even after trying their best to hand the game over to Washington – they led as much as 31-13 via Irving’s turnaround with 2:56 left in the first half – the Nets still have a golden chance of winning. And they squander it too.
With Durant waiting on the block for the final decisive match, the Wizards used Beal and overwhelm him. Irving adjusted and put the perfect go-to pass for Luwawu-Cabarrot for what should have been a forward pass, but his layup rolled and came out with 0.7 remaining.
Beal iced the heartbreaker on the line.
“We got the layup wide open to lead the game because everyone was very focused on me there. The coach made a good game and he could get someone to creep up for the layup, we didn’t finish it, “said Durant. “The ball should have come to me, but … we could have gotten something good, we didn’t finish it.”
That is the end of the game, but not the whole story.
“We have that game. It should be ours. So we just look at ourselves in the mirror and see what we can improve as individuals and as a group, especially in an effort, “said Irving. “I can’t keep a stick today. The people were just around me, and I got a little frustrated. “
Against a 4-12 Wizards who have lost four times in a row – seven of eight since beating the Nets on January 3 at Barclays Center – the Nets defense was crushed. Again.
The Nets had 20 more shots, allowed 17 more points than turnovers, and conceded 48 points in the fourth quarter.
Somehow the Nets found a way to shoot 56.8 percent and still lost badly.
“It was an unfortunate moment. Joe throws in and Kevin cuts in different directions. So it was just a mistake, and it happened, “said Nash. “But when you give up 149 points, that’s one mistake in 50 defensive drifts. We’re not good enough defensively. “
Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson, center, gets caught between Oklahoma City Thunder center Nenad Krstic, left, and guard Eric Maynor, right, and loses the ball in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Saturday, December 25, 2010. (Photo AP / Alonzo Adams)
In Oklahoma City’s first Christmas game, Kevin Durant had 44 points to overcome Chauncey Billups’ 30 points and beat the Denver Nuggets 114-106.
Durant had 21 points in the third quarter and made three 3s in the frame to help the Thunder take the lead into the final frame.
In the fourth quarter, Eric Maynor led the scoring with six points with a 3-of-3 shot in 4:22 games.
James Harden had 21 points from the bench and Russell Westbrook had 19.
The NBA schedule is out and the team is ready to go. Training camp is already underway, pre-season has already started on December 11 and, before you know it, the regular season is about to start.
There are so many teams that can compete for the title this season. There will be lots of basketball games played between now and the playoffs, and lots of great games to watch. It would be difficult to filter them all.
But don’t worry. We are here to help you. Here’s a list of the 25 best games we’ll see in the first half of the NBA season.
Nets vs. Warriors, December 22 Kevin Durant will be playing the Warriors for the first time since leaving the team on a free agent last season. It will be fun.
Warriors vs. Lakers, January 18 This has the potential to become a Western Conference Final showdown if all goes according to plan for these two teams. Plus, it’s Steph vs. LeBron. Do you really need more?
Nuggets vs. Lakers, February 4 The Nuggets will have a chance to see how much they have improved since seeing the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals here. Anthony Davis vs. Nikola Jokic is always fun.