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Steve Nash on Kevin Durant resting against the 76ers: ‘We’ve gotta protect him’

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Brooklyn Nets v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Shorthanded with just 10 available players, the Nets entered Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers battling uphill. Already missing James Harden, Tyler Johnson, and now Chris Chiozza to a season-ending right hand fracture, and with Blake Griffin resting and LaMarcus Aldridge out because of illness, perhaps the biggest loss of all was Kevin Durant, fresh off an iconic 31-point night on 11-of-15 shooting against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

According to head coach Steve Nash, the Nets “thought about” playing Durant on the other side of Brooklyn’s impromptu back-to-back against Philadelphia; but ultimately, it appears Brooklyn had a pre-planned resting regiment that the coaching and training staff didn’t want to break away from.

“The way it was designed,” said Steve Nash about Kevin Durant’s ramp-up. “Is to have 48 hours between high intensity physical output. It’s not really ideal to limit his minutes last night and have him come right back and play without that 48 hours between, in a sense.”

Nash was a full proponent of the training staff’s 48-hour rest period, stating that he “never really wanted” Durant to participate in both games in the back-to-back.

“I never really wanted him to do both. I think we’ve gotta to protect him and make sure that, although he’s dying to play, we gotta make sure we protect him so that he can fully overcome this injury and feel strong going forward. We didn’t really consider it once he started and played last night,” said Nash about Durant’s participation in both games. “It was more at what time do we get him out of the game that was already put to bed knowing that he needed to get him more minutes in his legs to build, grow, and ramp himself up again.”

On Durant’s side, it’s easy to see why he’s so eager to play; 28.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 blocks, 53.5% from the field, 44.8% from three, and 87.6% is sure as heck a sterling season. Conversely, just taking a look at the landscape — the Lakers completely decimated by injury, the Denver Nuggets now without Jamal Murray for the season — it’s easy to see why the Nets are acting with a bit more precaution with such a strenuous schedule. It’s a marathon not a sprint, after all.