The Nets’ Kevin Durant wasn’t bothered by the rare quiet night
INDIANAPOLIS – Kevin Durant will face the Nets’ game against the Pacers on Friday after an unusually quiet game, in which he scored just 12 points Wednesday in Toronto.
Still, Durant couldn’t have been happier after the Nets cruised to a 112-98 confidence-boosting victory.
“He feels great after the game, which is great to see him in the locker room excited because there are a lot of people in double digits,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “He always says this is team basketball, and this was a good example.”
It was Durant’s lowest output since a 12:22 cameo last season on Jan. 15 against New Orleans in which he injured his knee and missed the next 21 games. It was the first time since late 2021 that he scored just 12 in a complete game.
But Durant still had a 30-plus game, his third-best game of the young season, as the Nets shot 54.9 percent, dished out 32 assists and put all five starters in double figures. If they can duplicate those results against the Pacers in the finals of this road trip, he’ll take it.
“We know what Kev is capable of,” Kyrie Irving said. “I wouldn’t count on it [low scoring] being consistent He’ll do his thing at the end of the scoreboard.”
Durant also passed Kevin Garnett for 18th place on the all-time scoring list with 26,074 points. Next is John Havlicek with 26,395.
The Nets have four straight games with at least 30 assists for the first time since March 1987. They will try to make it five games against the Pacers.
Yuta Watanabe (hamstring strain) and TJ Warren (foot) are out Friday.
Warren, who hasn’t played since having foot surgery two seasons ago, has gone past coaches to play three-on-three against other players. His last game was on December 29, 2021 for the Pacers.
Watanabe will be evaluated when the Nets return home. His absence has forced Vaughn to play against Royce O’Neale and Joe Harris more minutes than he would prefer. It has also created more opportunities for Markieff Morris, whose playing time had been sporadic. Morris logged 18 minutes Wednesday – his second most of the season – and had nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from deep.
“The ball found me. He had his feet on it,” Morris said. “We did a great job and had over 30 assists. When you play like that, it’s easy to win.”
Durant has embraced the Nets’ role as the NBA’s villains.
“That’s on every field. Everybody wants to see our team fail,” he said. “No one likes Ben [Simmons]. Nobody likes Ky. nobody likes me So it could be like that on every street. It’s just something we have to deal with.
“A lot of things that probably play into it. But when NBA fans don’t like you … they really love you. I guess it’s just misplaced love. But we get it. At the end of the day, people enjoy watching -play with us”.
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