Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant says Nets have enough without Irving
The two time NBA champion believes his team has what it takes even if star point guard Irving remains unavailable.
Amid the continued fervor around Kyrie Irving's covid-19 vaccine stance, the Brooklyn Nets are trying gather themselves.
Kevin Durant thinks the Nets have enough to win
On Sunday night the Brooklyn Nets fell to the Charlotte Hornets 111-95. Kevin Durant, who scored 38 points on the night, said Brooklyn won't lose confidence even though they now stand with a 1-2 record in these initial weeks of the 2021 NBA regular season. Durant doubled down saying he believed the Nets had enough even without Irving.
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"While we are playing in a game, I am not going to sit there and say ... when we get down or it is a tight game, like 'Damn, we don't have enough," Durant said. "We are not going to be thinking about [that] during the game. We definitely want Kyrie Irving out here on the floor. And he is a huge part of what we do. But it is not happening right now. So we got to figure it out. But no one is going to lose confidence while we playing and hope Kyrie comes to save us during the game. No, we got to play. Everybody here is confident in what they do. We just got to play."
Coach Steve Nash tries to get it right
As the Nets try to right the ship it has been apparent that coach Steve Nash hasn't quite figured out the optimal team, as he has continued to experiment with different lineups and rotations in an effort to accommodate Irving's absence. Most recently the Nets were convincingly beaten by the Milwaukee Bucks 127-104 in the season opener, before requiring a triple-double from Durant to get the better of the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. To date Irving's status has remained unchanged as he has continued to refuse to comply with New York City's vaccination mandate.
"Yeah," Durant said several times when questioned on if the Nets have enough to win. "I am not about to say there's not going to [be] enough out here. I am not going to say that. I feel like we had a nice control of the game in the first half. They played a better second half. It's three games in. Of course we have enough."
Steve Nash speaks on James Harden
James Harden, who has become a central figure for the Nets admitted he is still growing in confidence as he looks to bounce back from last season. At the moment the former MVP is averaging 18.3 points, 8.0 assists and 7.3 rebounds but where free throws are concerned, his numbers are low having stepped to the line just nine times in three games. Coach Steve Nash believes that some of the rule changes in officiating have inadvertently affected his player. According to the NBA there is now new criteria when considering "overt, abrupt or abnormal non-basketball moves" of offensive players who are trying to draw fouls, specifically inside.
"I feel like he's unfairly become the poster boy of not calling these fouls," Nash said. "Some of them are definitely fouls still. But they're just so alert and aware and he's the poster child ofthese new decisions. ... I get it, there's a line, but some of them are still fouls. I think it's on the drive," Nash explained. "They're hyper aware of him reaching for guy's arms. But guys aren't set, and they're getting caught not in a legal guarding position, bumping him. That's a foul; that has nothing to do with the hands. Those are the ones that I take a little exception to. But James will get there."
James Harden addresses the issue himself
"No matter how much of a big deal we try to make it, a foul's a foul," Harden said. "It's pretty simple. I feel like they're putting too much emphasis on rules, and not even rules, but certain people to where you look at it as clear fouls. For me, you've just got to keep going. No big deal."
"... I'm not the type to complain about it," Harden later added. "I ask every official, if they see a foul, just call a foul. Sometimes, I feel like, coming into a game, it's already predetermined or I have a stigma getting foul calls. But I just ask for the officials to just call what they see."