- Isaac Brendel
Nets Notes: Durant, Nets rout Pelicans at home
Updated: Apr 8, 2021
photo credit: Frank Franklin II - staff, AP
Scary, deadly, formidable, juggernaut, whatever you want to call them, the Brooklyn Nets are on another level. With Kevin Durant playing for the first time since February, all Brooklyn fans had reason to be excited on Wednesday night when Steve Nash’s squad took on the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite James Harden being out and re-evaluated in a few days, the Nets are extremely lucky to have KD back and healthy.
The first quarter on Wednesday night was undoubtedly a sloppy one. The Nets edged the Pelicans 36-33 thanks to a buzzer-beating deep three from Blake Griffin. Brooklyn knew they had to be better and called the game in the second quarter. They posted 43 points compared to New Orleans’ 26.
In the second half, Brooklyn continued to dominate. Their sixty second-half points ran the Pels out of the Barclays Center.
The Pelicans’ frustrations boiled over, and with 1:29 to go in the third, Aaron Bledsoe was ejected from the game after his second technical foul. Brooklyn won the game 139-111.
The depth that general manager Sean Marks has put together is remarkable. The additions of Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Alize Johnson, Landry Shamet, Bruce Brown have been monumental for Brooklyn’s depth. With the big three only playing a handful of games together, depth is imperative to sustain success. The Nets are far beyond just three players. The role players understand what they need to do and execute night after night. It only gets better for the Nets when Shamet, Harden, DeAndre Jordan, and Tyler Johnson get healthy.
In this impressive performance by this juggernaut, Kyrie Irving posted 24 points, 2 rebounds, and 6 assists. In just nineteen minutes, Durant had 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Aldridge put up 22 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. In his thirteen-minute stint, Griffin had 10 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. Joe Harris had 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Jeff Green had a decent night and put up 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Brown played great two-way basketball per usual and recorded 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists. Chris Chiozza saw more minutes than usual, playing eighteen of them. He notched 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists in that time. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had 6 points, 2 rebounds, and an assist. Nicolas Claxton and Reggie Perry combined for 8 points. Johnson had 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists.
After the game, Durant spoke to the media. “I expected to come out here and play the way I played… I wasn’t trying to ease into the game.” He clearly didn’t do that. When asked how the Nets gel as a team, KD responded, “Everybody here loves to play.”
Durant’s return didn’t go unnoticed by his coaches or teammates either. It’s not hard to play basketball with Kevin Durant,” Nash said of the thirty-two-year-old. Griffin was evidently very impressed by his teammate as well. “After missing two months and then coming back and looking that comfortable is crazy,” Griffin told the press. “Some of the guys we have, they just make the game easy,” he said.
It is now about securing a spot and getting everyone healthy for the postseason. With the big three healthy and the depth players rolling, the Nets are proving to be unstoppable. It is also important to note that the big three have only played seven games together, going 5-2 in that stretch.
The Nets enjoy a brief respite and will take on the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. Tip-off is set for 8:30 PM Eastern Time.