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    Can Brooklyn Nets SF Kevin Durant Handle The Playoff Physicality?

    Yesterday evening, the Brooklyn Nets took on the Boston Celtics on the road. While the game was a thriller and extremely entertaining. It seemed abundantly clear that the atmosphere and physicality affected Kevin Durant’s offensive presence throughout the game. While still finding ways to score and come up big in times the Nets were struggling, it’s safe to say it wasn’t the average Durant performance. Durant shot 9 for 24 with 23 points, 3 assists, and 6 turnovers, according to ESPN.

    “They did well in pushing me away and defending the paint,” said ESPN. “I just need to focus on my fundamentals in my moves. I felt like some shots didn’t go my way.”

    Honestly, this reminds many of the Milwaukee Bucks series last season. In 2021, the Bucks played the Nets in the second round of the playoffs. Durant was primarily guarded by P.J. Tucker who didn’t stop him from scoring but definitely made it much harder to do so. Throughout the series, it was evident that Durant was beginning to get fatigued,  and with his top two players injured, he was left to take on the majority of the responsibility. According to Statmuse, Durant averaged 35.4 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists in 7 games during the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

    Durant’s Expectations

    In yesterday’s thriller, Durant’s teammate Kyrie Irving was absolutely sensational. He may have done enough to get the Nets the win over the Celtics. However, while scoring 23 points Durant wasn’t enough to withstand Irving’s efforts. Durant scoring 23 points on 24 shots is unlike him, not to mention, that he missed the dagger bucket that could have sealed the Brooklyn Nets’ victory. It’s safe to say that the Celtics’ defense made him a bit uncomfortable. And he’s likely to adjust within the next few games against the potential DPOY Marcus Smart and that gritty Celtics defense.

    Outside of his tough outing offensively, he also had some defensive lapses throughout the game as well. Sadly, one of the lapses cost them the game.

    While Durant plays amazing help defense, he still gets caught ball watching all the time. His on-ball defense will have to approve allowing Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum to go for 31 points on 50% shooting is unacceptable going forward. If Tatum is able to score with ease like this throughout the entirety of the series, the Nets will be in grave danger going forward.

    Irving’s Beef With Boston Continues

    Irving’s beef with the Celtics stems back to 2018 when he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. The fans have become a vital part of the game and can rattle opposing players. Irving has had a feud on and off the court with the Celtics fan base for a while now. It’s become such an issue Durant had to step in and make a statement on Irving’s behalf regarding the disrespectful behavior.

    “We know how these people are here in Boston, and we know how passionate they are about Kyrie, in particular,” Durant said. “They are still angry with him. But that doesn’t justify their immature behavior. Fans need to mature at some point. I understand that the past year and a half of the pandemic has left many people feeling anxious and stressed, but it’s important to remember that athletes are human beings, not objects or performers in a circus.

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