BOSTON – Kevin Durant missed 15 pictures and turned the ball over six instances within the Nets’ Recreation 1 loss to the Celtics on Sunday.
However the Nets solely misplaced by one on a broken-play, buzzer-beating game-winner from Jayson Tatum.
Because of this, it’s troublesome to strike a steadiness: Sure, the Nets had some obtrusive shortcomings in Sunday’s loss. The Celtics bullied them with physicality on the defensive finish and received the rebound margin by 13.
However Durant, revered as considered one of basketball’s nice equalizers, had an uncharacteristically poor sport by his personal measure.
“I do know what I did. I want I had performed higher,” he stated after Tuesday’s Nets observe at Harvard’s Lavietes Pavilion. “We most likely would have received the sport, however I can’t let it get in the way in which an excessive amount of.”
As a substitute, Durant stated, the Nets need to have a look at the massive image, which isn’t his taking pictures effectivity or his carelessness with the ball, however a seven-game playoff sequence towards the Celtics in its totality.
“It’s a skinny line you are attempting to cross if you need to give attention to you and attempt to be the perfect you’ll be able to, but in addition understand it’s a workforce sport,” he stated. “It’s good going by means of robust video games. You attempt to consider and transfer on from them.”
The Nets, for what it’s price, don’t imagine the Celtics performed their finest basketball, both, and it’s why merely chalking this sport as much as Durant’s poor taking pictures might be idiot’s gold. 4 Celtics scored 20 or extra, however their workforce as an entire solely generated 17 bench factors. They turned the ball over 14 instances to 16 for the Nets and in addition fumbled a 15-point third-quarter lead.
“I feel we have a look at this as we had a fantastic alternative to win the sport, however didn’t play nicely,” stated head coach Steve Nash. “I feel the Celtics are most likely it, they didn’t play nice both. So that they had been capable of get throughout the road on the buzzer, however I’m undecided both workforce seems to be on the sport and says they performed nice.”
However in a sport the place Kyrie Irving scored 39 factors whereas flipping off and cursing out Celtics followers – a gesture that earned him a $50,000 superb from the league on Tuesday – Durant’s 9-of-24 taking pictures evening for simply 23 factors left a bitter style within the workforce’s mouth.
“I feel we are able to enhance a number of the seems to be, however I feel a whole lot of the seems to be are ones Kevin is ready to deal with and make,” stated Nash. “So I wouldn’t overreact there. Kevin can play higher and can play higher. It’s our job to assist him, however Kevin is aware of how you can alter.
“Look, the Celtics did a fantastic job. They made it troublesome, however I wouldn’t say that Kevin’s going to have too many days like that the place he struggles,” Nash continued. “He’s a winner, he’s an unbelievable expertise, he’s capable of alter. And I do know he’s excited to get again on the ground.”
Durant is a strolling bucket who would have led the NBA in scoring with 29.9 factors per sport had he performed sufficient video games to qualify for the league’s leaderboard. Towards a scrambling, blitzing, trapping Celtics protection, he began Recreation 1 simply 2-of-10 from the sphere within the first half earlier than discovering his footing within the third quarter. Three of his six turnovers got here within the first quarter.
“That physicality they obtained their fingers on some basketballs, some 50-50 balls which was capable of get them some quick break factors,” Durant stated, noting that he preferred the pictures he obtained, the move of the offense and the ball motion the Nets performed with in Recreation 1. “It’s only a matter of once they swarm you with their size if you drive and so they put their fingers within the passing lanes and stuff, you gotta be extra acutely aware of that. That’s what they’re actually good at. If we maintain the ball in our fingers and get a great shot up each time down, we put ourselves in a great place.”
Durant, a four-time scoring champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP, stated he hopes to construct on the rhythm he discovered within the second half when his jumper began falling. Extra importantly, he needs the workforce to proceed to play nicely as a result of in a sport the place his shot was damaged within the first half, the Nets nonetheless had an opportunity to win on the finish of the evening.
“Simply maintain taking part in,” he stated. “Dangerous video games occur. Off taking pictures nights occur.
“In hindsight, you may watch each play all through the sport and say that if you lose by some extent. It’s straightforward to return and have a look at every play, but when we persistently play with vitality and energy on each ends of the ground, I feel we put ourselves in a great place no matter something. That’s just about how we attempt to strategy video games.”