Saturday marked the playoff debut of the Brooklyn Nets All-Star trio of James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. The Nets ‘Big 3’ did not disappoint as the three future Hall of Famers combined for 82 points in the contest as they cruised to a 104-93 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Game 1 against Boston was just the ninth time this year that Harden, Irving, and Durant have shared the floor this year. Injuries along with a plethora of other things have prevented the Nets trio from sharing the floor. On Saturday, the team dodged a major bullet that could have resulted in an injury to one of their stars.
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Kevin Durant Involved in Scary Collision With Marcus Smart
Late in the second quarter Durant went up for a fast-break layup against Celtics’ guard Marcus Smart and it resulted in a scary collision that ended with all of KD’s weight coming down on his right arm. Thankfully for Durant and the Nets he was okay and able to continue the game. The 11-time All-Star finished with 32 points to go along with 12 rebounds, and 1 assist.
Kevin Durant took a hard fall after Marcus Smart took a charge in front of him.
KD is still in the game. pic.twitter.com/fdQHrHFgjl
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 23, 2021
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Kevin Durant Shined in Nets Playoff Debut
The road back to 100% health has been a long one for Durant. Game 1 against the Celtics was KD’s first postseason game since tearing his Achilles in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors during the 2019 NBA Finals. Nets head coach Steve Nash could not be happier to see his star back where he belongs, competing for an NBA title.
“It’s exciting to see him out there. The whole ride this year from seeing him come back from such a devastating injury and have such a long layoff with a big hill to climb and a lot of doubt,” Nash said after Brooklyn’s Game 1 win over the Celtics per NetsDaily. “A tribute to his work ethic, sacrifice, and talent to be able to play at that level after that injury and that layoff.”
After fighting to get back on the court, a hamstring injury that KD suffered on February 13 held him out of play for 23 games this season. Durant just returned to the floor on April 7, so he is still working his way back into game shape. Still, Durant at less than 100% health is better than 95% of the NBA.
“He didn’t have a classic for him tonight, but you look up and he still had 32-and-12,” Nash continued. “[He] got to the line and did all the things you need to do to win. Proud of him, happy for him and I know our fans were excited to see him out there in the playoffs again.”
Steve Nash on his emotions watching Kevin Durant play his first playoff game since tearing his Achilles in 2019:
“Proud of him, happy for him, and I know our fans were excited to see him out there tonight in the playoffs again” pic.twitter.com/YVEsCIv1yY
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) May 23, 2021
Nets Had To Dig Deep for Game 1 Win
Brooklyn’s may have taken Game 1 against the Celtics in convincing fashion, but the team got off to a slow start and trailed going into the second half. The Nets had to dig deep to gut out a much-needed win on their home floor.
“We found a way to win. We didn’t play well offensively,” Nash said. “Some of it was shot-making. Some of it was cohesion. Some of it was the first time out in the playoffs with fans. The atmosphere was unbelievable. Our fans were incredible. We knew it would be fun to play in front of the fans but to step out there and see the place packed like that and the energy in the building was unbelievable.”
The Nets first-round series against the Celtics rolls along with Game 2 at Barclays Center on Tuesday.
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