Kevin Durant’s return cannot prevent Nets’ reduction to Thunder

The Nets obtained back celebrity Kevin Durant on Sunday night time. What they didn’t get was Kyrie Irving — or a earn.

Inspite of Durant’s powerful return following a week-extended quarantine, the Nets even now blew a lead in a 129-116 reduction to Oklahoma City at Barclays Centre.

Acquiring missed the prior 3 game titles owing to health and basic safety protocols — a league expression for COVID-19 make contact with tracing — Durant under no circumstances skipped a beat, with 36 points, 11 rebounds and four helps. And regardless of queries about no matter if he could excel up coming to Durant, Caris LeVert extra 21 points, six helps and 4 boards.

It wasn’t more than enough.

The Nets (5-6) led by five around halfway via the third quarter in advance of they authorized an extended 25-7 run to conclusion the time period. They shot just 3-for-11 and committed four turnovers, seeing a 74-69 edge change into a 13-stage hole.

The Nets had dropped handle of the video game, and could under no circumstances wrest it again.

“We want to participate in the ideal way, so to speak, no matter who’s in the lineup,” mentor Steve Nash experienced said. “Obviously you are going to perform a somewhat distinct recreation with Kevin in the lineup than with out his prowess, his capability to score in isolation, in the write-up, at all levels, in all eventualities. So in a perception, you can lean on that, whilst when he’s not in the lineup, you have to lean extra on the connectivity of ball movement, points like that.

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant sits on the bench through the Nets loss to the Thunder on Sunday.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“But, no issue who’s in the lineup, we have obtained to play together. We have acquired to engage in hard, adhere to our ideas defensively. There is particular tenets that we have received to develop on just about every solitary evening if we’re likely to carry on to mature into a definitely good basketball workforce. Kevin offers us a enormous increase in the talent division, but we still want to participate in the correct way, see the actions, actions, and connectivity.”

There was little connectivity on the defensive stop, where by Oklahoma City built the Nets fork out.

Brooklyn authorized torrid 54.4 per cent capturing, and surrendered 21 fast-break points. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 31 details, 7 helps and six boards, whilst Hamidou Diallo included 25.

Granted, Nash utilized his sixth different beginning lineup of the period, with Jeff Eco-friendly, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris joining Durant and LeVert. Harris, who had arrive off the bench in the prior 3 online games, begun at off-guard and Green at compact ahead in the Nets’ version of going major.

It assisted with rebounding — a major weak point — but not ball stability or perimeter defense, two other Nets Achilles’ heels the Thunder took benefit of.

For the very first time since signing up for the staff, Durant played with out Irving by his facet. And the All-Star stage guard’s existence was sorely skipped, especially with the Nets also bereft of Spencer Dinwiddie (ACL) and Tyler Johnson (quarantine). The Nets were being too sloppy, giving away not just their own scoring chances, but low-priced transition buckets the other way.

Nets led 74-69 with 6:52 still left in the third on Durant’s absolutely free toss. But that is when they surrendered a 15-2 run, together with the last 10 straight, to get rid of control of the sport. They trailed by 8 after a Isaiah Roby 3-pointer, and hardly ever recovered.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot strike a 3, then took a cost on Gilgeous-Alexander while Taurean Prince’s push pulled the Nets in 84-81. But that is as near as they bought, surrendering one more 10- run to near the period of time.

DeAndre Jordan’s flagrant foul sealed the run, leaving them down by 13 following the 3rd. The Thunder opened the fourth with a baseline dunk from Diallo — a former Nets draft decide. The Nets — down 96-81 —spent the relaxation of the night time chasing.

The Nets have a again-to-again beginning at dwelling on Tuesday towards the Nuggets and Wednesday at the Garden versus the Knicks. It continues to be to be observed if Irving will play in both, but they do at the very least have Durant back.

“Kevin is energized,” Nash claimed. “He was devastated to have to sit out. We all know he enjoys the sport and enjoys to hoop. So he’s energized to be back, and naturally I’m a single joyful coach to have him back. So I’m thrilled to see him get his legs back again beneath him.”