Kyrie Irving did everything in his power to lead the Brooklyn Nets to victory over the Boston Celtics on Sunday. He played so well that he reignited old conspiracy theories about his NBA 75 omission. Unfortunately, the Nets came up just short – thanks to a buzzer-beating layup by Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.
One big reason why Irving’s 39 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field and 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, five rebounds, six assists, four steals, one block, and three was ultimately nullified? Because of the terrible day Kevin Durant had.
Durant finished Sunday with 23 points on 24 shots, four rebounds, three assists and six turnovers. That’s some Russell Westbrook stuff.
After the game, Irving was asked about Durant’s poor showing in Game 1. He offered something of a blunt response:
“Nothing to overthink with Kevin Durant, we know who he is. We know he’s gonna go back, watch film and prepare.”
-Kyrie Irving isn’t worried about Durant’s tough shooting night. pic.twitter.com/xAwqBVE9US
— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) April 17, 2022
“Nothing to overthink with Kevin Durant, we know who he is,” Irving replied. “We know he’s gonna go back, watch film and prepare.”
Durant offered a slightly deeper analysis of his woes.
“They did a good job forcing me away, helping in the paint. I just have to be more fundamental in my moves,” Durant said. “I feel like some shots went in and out for me today. I played fast and turned the ball over. I just got to slow down and play my game. But they did a good job of making me see bodies.”
Durant understands that the pressure Boston put on him likely isn’t going away.
“I feel like teams are going to be designed to take away some of my catches and my opportunities,” he continued.
“I’ve been dealing with it for a while. It’s on me to just keep with it. I felt I got some good looks. Maybe I was rushing a bit. My fundamentals wasn’t down — trying to play before the help comes and sometimes I rushed my shots. It’s about looking at the game and seeing where I can be better individually and shifting my mindset a bit as I start the game and see where I go from there. It’s a journey, and I’m looking forward to the next game.”
It will be interesting to see how Durant and Irving react to Game 1. Irving just needs to keep doing what he has been doing. He played so effectively this weekend that his girlfriend went viral just due to her mere association with him. Durant, though – he needs to get it together.
Trey Lance already showing bad decision-making skills. https://t.co/tdbtucPigV
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 18, 2022
Obviously if the Nets can come back to even it up, and then take the series lead in Brooklyn – all of Sunday’s woes will be forgotten.
But if Durant struggles in the same way again, the Nets are going to have a hard time beating a team that’s as hot as the Celtics are right now.