Sport NBA World Reacts To Kevin Durant’s Return To Nets
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For the first time in over 50 days,stepped foot onto the floor in Barclays Center for the . Unsurprisingly, he reminded the league why he remains one of the best players in the modern NBA.
Durant entered at the 7:22 mark of the second quarter, coming off of the bench for Steve Nash’s squad. The appearance marked his first since mid-February, when the 32-year-old forward suffered a right hamstring strain that sidelined him for almost two months.
But, Durant didn’t skip a beatagainst the New Orleans Pelicans. In just 18 minutes and 56 seconds of action, the Nets star poured in 17 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the floor. He added seven rebounds, five assists and a 5-for-5 night at the free throw line in Brooklyn’s 139-111 blowout win.
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Only 3 of the top 10 teams in the rankings are from the East. 1. Jazz (38-12, Last Week No. 1). Casual fans will say that defense/Donovan Mitchell/Rudy Gobert are behind Utah’s run to the top of the standings (and these NBA power rankings). They’re not totally wrong, but the reality is it’s the 3-ball that propelled the Jazz the NBA’s best record. Utah is averaging 43 attempts from three a game — the most per game in NBA history, topping the 2017-18 Houston team — and is hitting 39.5% of them. That’s 17 made threes a game on average, blowing out the previous record of 15.3 per game by those same Rockets.
Durant clearly picked his spots brilliantly on his way to a flawless performance, but it was his movement that wowed most viewers on Wednesday. The 32-year-old moved fluidly and looked comfortable on the floor, despite having not played at game speed in nearly two months.
Needless to say, the NBA world was impressedto the Nets on Wednesday.
Kevin Durant is the true definition of a Hooper! I mean damn he’s been off for almost 2 months and haven’t missed a beat!!! God Bless America.
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins)
.on KD dropping 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting in his Nets return:
"I would like to welcome back the best player on the planet! Kevin Durant immediately left rust in the dust. And he did it off the bench."
Nets welcome Pelicans to Barclays Center
Kyrie Irving put on a show and the Nets sent the Knicks back to Manhattan in a close one, 114-112, the third time Brooklyn beat New York this season and evened the all-time series at 106-106. Unfortunately, the Nets suffered a loss when James Harden subbed out in the first quarter with hamstring tightness. He’s out for at least 10 days. The opponent tonight will be the New Orleans Pelicans, who are 5-5 in their last 10, losing Tuesday night to the Hawks. The Pelicans are now 22-28 but still within range of the 10th seed and the NBA’s play-in tournament. So winning is still a priority.
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed)
Durant looked terrific. The Nets looked ridiculous.
— Ryan Ruocco (@RyanRuocco)
Kevin Durant’s return to the Nets couldn’t have gone much better. He didn’t miss a shot, physically looked great and made chemistry look like something for high school students to worry about. On Durant’s first game in nearly two months:
— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer)
Blake Griffin reflects on Kevin Durant's return: "After missing 2 months, and then coming back and looking that comfortable is crazy"
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets)
Although his chemistry with his teammates didn’t seem to waiver when he entered the game against the Pelicans, getting Durant more playing time with their other superstars on the floor will be crucial for the Nets down the final stretch of the regular season. Durant has only played with Kyrie Irving and James Harden in seven games this year, which has sparked some concern about their postseason potential.
Brooklyn will have to wait a little while longer to get its “Big Three” back together on the court. Hardenand will miss at least the next 10 days.
With 20 games remaining, the Nets sit alone atop the Eastern Conference, but will need to get their best players healthy before the start of the playoffs in late May.
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NBA Star Index: Russell Westbrook's triple-double average falling flat; Devin Booker on scoring binge .
Also, Kevin Durant was perfect in his return and Nikola Jokic is making life easy on Aaron GordonIf you haven't noticed, Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple-double again. It was once enough to win him the 2017 MVP. It's not to compare the player Westbrook is now to the player he was when he willed the Oklahoma City Thunder to the playoffs as a No. 6 seed in the aftermath of Kevin Durant's defection. But there was a time when we would've been enamored with the numbers alone. Context wouldn't have mattered. That time has passed.