Two games on the road didn’t cure the Nets’ ailment, but it did give its beleaguered fan base a little hope that not all was lost after weeks of losing and play. The team’s lone superstar, Kevin Durant, led the Nets to one win over the weekend and a gritty group together did what it needed to.
The people around Durant didn’t have the same star power as Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons, but they certainly got the job done. Durant headlined efforts in both games over the weekend, but names like Cam Thomas, Yuta Watanabe, Nick Claxton and Royce O’Neill provided the needed backup for Brooklyn.
“I think we’ve rallied around each other,” Durant told reporters in Charlotte. “It has been a tough week for us and it is good to be back in the game. Once the ball is tipped (everything else) goes out the window. We were just waiting to get back to play. We showed some pride. ,
And after all that happened, that’s what the nets should have shown. Brooklyn needed to show that they didn’t throw in the towel and wouldn’t let Irving’s distraction and Simmons’ absence completely derail things.
The Nets are a team outside their Big 3 that can compete on their own. While it won’t be a team that foams at the odd-makers’ mouths, their early contributions showed what the Nets could do.
For example, Claxton has averaged 12.4 points per game, 8.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He had 18 points in Friday’s Nets blowout win over the Wizards.
Thomas has made the most of his opportunity with Irving currently suspended by the team. The young guard had 21 points in his comeback win over Charlotte and combined 38 points through two games after seeing barely any time during the first eight games.
“I’ve had a couple of weeks — we’ve fired coaches before, people have been injured. It was just a tough week,” Durant told ESPN. “But yeah, I’ve been through the first few tough weeks. I don’t want to act like this it’s some discrepancy. There’s a lot—that goes on in the NBA. This is a chaotic league. And we are with each other every day, this is a season of six months, seven months. Something’s gonna happen.
“So it’s really all about how you bounce back, and I’m glad we were able to bounce back, get two wins. But we have to keep pushing, keep building. That’s it.”
The drama with the Nets outside is unlikely to subside for now, but the weekend’s slate gave some sign of hope that all is not yet over.