The Nets are trying to claw their way out of a slump ... a slump that has included tough losses against depleted teams and all-too-close wins against others. It’s left the team sitting at second in the East (25-14) after dropping five of their last seven games. Through the struggles during these dog days of the season, Kevin Durant has carried a heavy load, helping to make up for the absence of Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris. Is it alarming?
After playing 43 minutes in the Nets’ 121-119 overtime win against the Spurs Sunday night. Durant tallied a game-high 42 minutes in Monday night’s cross-country back-to-back loss against the Trail Blazers. It’s familiar territory for the Nets superstar, who ranks second in the league in minutes per game (37.4) and just shy of Raptors guard, Fred VanVleet (37.5) for the league lead. He also ranks 14th overall in total minutes played (1,271).
“We’ll find him a game. We’ll find him a game to miss somewhere here coming up,” said Steve Nash. “We always know it’s hard to limit his minutes; one from a competitive standpoint. It’s hard to limit his minutes because he wants to play, especially in games like this where we had a chance to win. We got to find games where we can sit him out and rest him.”
The Nets head coach added that he doesn’t expect Durant’s well-deserved rest day to come against the East-best Bulls in Chicago Wednesday night.
“No. I don’t think so,” said Nash.
When Durant was asked about resting and whether his high-minute load raises a concern, he quickly shut it down. The 33-year-old superstar doesn’t think about taking a rest day but will support a night off — if the coaching staff wants him to take one.
“No. Let me die out there. Nah, I’m just playing. No, I’m not concerned but whenever coach wants to give me a day, I’ll support it but I’m not looking for one,” said Durant on resting. “I’m just going to play until they tell me that I’m sitting out. That’s not on my mind while I’m playing. That’s not on my mind when I’m going into a game or preparing for a game. It is what it is. I got to play 40, so what? I’m going to play. They tell me to sit out, I’ll do the same thing.”
Brooklyn has a difficult stretch of games ahead, which includes 13 of the next 18 games on the road, good for Kyrie Irving but not so good for wear and tear. Although it’s unlikely Durant’s rest day will come Wednesday night against Chicago — a game that will likely include the teams’ “Big Three” but not LaMarcus Aldridge, who didn’t travel with the team on the three-game road trip. How soon might a rest day arrive for the Nets superstar? Expect it sooner rather than later. The Nets play the Thunder at home on Thursday, then the Pelicans on Saturday. Sounds like one of those teams will face Brooklyn without KD or Kyrie Irving.