Nets’ Kevin Durant unfazed by unusually quiet night as teammates step up

Kevin Durant will enter Friday’s game against the Pacers on the heels of an incredibly quiet performance in which he scored only 12 points for the Nets in Toronto on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, Durant could not have been happier following the Nets’ confidence-boosting 112-98 victory.

Coach Jacque Vaughn remarked, “It’s fantastic to see him in the locker room ecstatic about the fact that numerous players scored double-digit points.” This is exactly what he means when he refers to team basketball, as this is a good example.

It was Durant’s lowest scoring performance since January 15, 2017, against New Orleans, when he injured his knee and missed the following 21 games. It was the first time since late 2021 that he scored fewer than 12 points in an entire game.

The Nets shot 54.9 percent from the field, dished out 32 assists, and had all five starters score in double figures. Durant’s game-high plus-30 was his third-best of the young season. If those outcomes can be replicated against the Pacers in the final game of this road trip, he will be satisfied.

Kyrie Irving remarked, “We know Kev’s capabilities.” “I would not anticipate [poor scoring] to be consistent. “He will do his thing out there on the offensive end.”

With 26,074 points, Durant also surpassed Kevin Garnett for 18th place on the all-time scoring list. John Havlicek is in second place with 26,395 points.

The last time the Nets had four consecutive games with at least 30 assists was in March 1987. Against the Pacers, they will want to make it five straight victories.

Friday will be without Yuta Watanabe (hamstring strain) and T.J. Warren (foot).

Warren, who hasn’t played since foot surgery two seasons ago, has moved from facing coaches to competing against other players in three-on-three games. His last game with the Pacers came on December 29, 2021.

Watanabe will be evaluated upon the Nets’ return to New Jersey. His absence has compelled Vaughn to play Royce O’Neale and Joe Harris more than he would like. It has also increased the opportunities for Markieff Morris, whose playing time was previously inconsistent. Morris played 18 minutes on Wednesday, his second-most of the season, and scored nine points on three of four three-point attempts.

“The ball came to me. I had my feet set,” remarked Morris. “We performed an excellent job and had almost 30 assists. When you play that way, it’s simple to win.”

Durant has accepted the Nets’ villainous status in the NBA.

“This occurs in every arena. “Everyone wants our squad to fail,” he stated. “Nobody likes Ben [Simmons]. Nobody likes Ky. Nobody likes myself. Consequently, this may be the case at every road venue. It is simply something we must cope with.

“Many factors undoubtedly contribute to it. However, when NBA fans dislike it, they truly appreciate you. I suppose it’s just misplaced affection. But we get it. People appreciate seeing us play at the end of the day.”


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