Sunday afternoon’s primetime matchup was a meeting of NBA powerhouses.
The Brooklyn Nets who are first place in the Eastern Conference took on Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and the Phoenix Suns who are second in the Western Conference.
As if the game did not already have enough hype surrounding it, Sunday was also the return of Nets’ All-Star forward Kevin Durant who has missed the team’s last three games due to a contusion on his thigh.
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Kevin Durant Had Kyrie Irving Hyped
Every hoops fan was excited to welcome KD back to the floor as he is one of the best talents that the game has ever seen. However, nobody was happier to see Durant back on the floor more than Nets’ star Kyrie Irving who was going crazy on the bench as he watched his teammate light it up in the second half.
Kyrie is HYPED to see KD cooking the Suns 😂
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 25, 2021
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Durant Lit the Suns up in His Return
Much like when he returned from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for 23 games this year, Durant did not start the ball game against the Suns and did not check in until about the midway point in the second quarter.
Durant’s late check-in however did not affect his numbers as the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player once again returned from injury looking like he has not lost a step.
The Nets had an impressive blowout victory over the Suns as they led by as many as 17 points in their 128-119 victory on Sunday.
Durant dropped a cool 33 points in his return to the court while Kyrie added 34 points of his own. Hard to believe but this is just the second time this season that KD and Kyrie have both scored 30 points in the same game.
The other game that they accomplished this feat was against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 20, when KD and Kyrie scored 38 and 37 points respectively. It was also the first of the seven games that the Nets ‘big 3’ of James Harden, Durant, and Irving played together.
KD return from injury:
in 28 minutes. pic.twitter.com/ZUPxNj23aN
— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 25, 2021
KD Details What Him Coming Off the Bench Meant
Durant has missed 26 games since February 12. All of the missed time for him is not ideal for his conditioning. The team is now focusing on the playoffs and the Nets medical staff is trying to remain cautious with his load management. As for Durant, he is a hooper and is just excited to be back on the floor doing what he loves.
“I knew I was going to play at some point and play a certain amount of minutes so it all worked out for the best and I’m excited I get to be out there with my teammates again,” Durant told reporters following the win via SNY.
Durant did not play at all in the first quarter as Nets Head Coach Steve Nash was strict about keeping his superstar under the 30 minute mark. Nash just hit the marker as Durant played 28 minutes. In that short amount of time, Durant had 33 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block.
“I felt like it would be a bigger challenge for me to focus in and lock in if I came off the bench, so I just wanted to see how that worked,” he said.
Kevin Durant on his return to the court:
“I’m excited I get to be out there with my teammates again” pic.twitter.com/f5wSjsxBYQ
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) April 25, 2021
Kevin Durant on the strategy for managing his minutes today:
“I felt like it would be a bigger challenge for me to focus in and lock in if I came off the bench, so I just wanted to see how that worked” pic.twitter.com/ehL6nnyBlI
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) April 25, 2021
The Nets with as much turmoil as they have faced this season are starting to take shape right on time. Whether Harden will return before the playoffs remains to be seen but if Irving and Durant keep balling like this, the Nets have nothing to worry about.
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