The Nets entered Sunday with a one-game lead over the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Eastern Conference. And though they still have 12 games remaining on their regular-season schedule, it’s easy to begin looking ahead to the playoffs.
In fact, Brooklyn star Kevin Durant apparently already has a preferred opponent in mind.
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Durant Hoping for Nets-Knicks Playoff Series
For as dominant as the Nets have been at points this season, for all the juicy storylines surrounding their star-filled roster, they’re sharing the spotlight with the team that has owned it in New York even amid its struggles.
Only, the Knicks aren’t struggling now. Heading into Sunday, they were winners of nine straight, surging them up the Eastern Conference standings, all the way up to fourth place.
Durant is taking note, and is well aware of what a Nets-Knicks playoff series could mean for New York.
“I would absolutely love for that s*** to happen,” Durant replied to a user on Instagram when asked about a potential Nets-Knicks postseason series, according to @OfficialNBABuzz on Twitter.
Durant said he agreed when the Instagram fan wrote, “I’m telling you, this team is not a good matchup for anyone come playoff [time], no team has the intensity these Knicks do.”
Kevin Durant told a Knicks fan in an Instagram DM that he’d “absolutely love” for a Nets vs. Knicks playoff series.
Thoughts? Who would win? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/Lm8tKcQ1Uv
— NBA Buzz (@OfficialNBABuzz) April 22, 2021
The Nets are 3-0 against the Knicks so far this season, but all three games have been close, with the Knicks staying within single digits each time.
Richard Jefferson Chimes in on ‘Subway Series’
During Friday’s episode of The Jump on ESPN, Matt Barnes said the reignition of the Nets-Knicks rivalry is much needed.
“I think this would be amazing,” the former NBA guard said. “Basketball is better when New York is relevant.”
Richard Jefferson, the former Nets star turned ESPN analyst, had a different outlook on the situation — and a cautionary message for Knicks fans.
“You do not want that (if you’re Knicks fans)” Jefferson said. “Even on the great teams I played (with) — I had LeBron James on my team and I didn’t want to see Kevin Durant. Let’s just be really honest, guys. … All I’m saying here is that it’s great for a rivalry, I think it’s great that the Knicks are at that level. But understand: If the Nets are healthy, be careful. … This is a guy (Durant) that before he got hurt, he had just won two championships, two Finals MVPs, was on his way to a third championship before the torn Achilles (at the end of the 2019 season). That’s the guy that you guys want to get into his DMs and start chirping with?”
It was all fun and games playing “Can I have a word” with @RJeff24 and @Matt_Barnes22…until we got into the topic of Knicks fans getting into Kevin Durant’s DM’s. Matt says NY fans should talk their talk…just not to KD. Richard says Knicks fans should talk to him instead 😂 pic.twitter.com/88xf2mgM0V
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 24, 2021
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Durant Back for Nets
For now, Durant appears to be healthy again. The 11-time All-Star was listed as available for the Nets’ game against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday after missing the past three games with a thigh contusion.
All told, Durant entered Sunday having played in only 24 out of a possible 60 games this season due to injuries and precautionary quarantines after contact tracing.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, Nets coach Steve Nash said he doesn’t expect Durant to play more than 30 minutes against the Suns or the next few opponents, but plans to give him an appropriate amount of run, according to Alex Schiffer of The Athletic.
Steve Nash doesn’t expect Kevin Durant to play 30+ minutes today or the next few nights but plans to give him an appropriate amount of run. Wants to get Durant back in a groove, but doesn’t want to overdo it.
— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer) April 25, 2021
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