Nets Notes: Durant, Griffin, Harris, Game 4

Two significant anniversaries occurred this week for Nets star Kevin Durant, notes Jerry Brewer of The Washington Post. Thursday marked two years since he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during the 2019 NBA Finals, and Saturday was the second anniversary of his surgery.

Durant has made a full recovery after sitting out last season and has returned to his spot among the NBA’s elite players. He’s averaging 30.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in the first three games of the Eastern Conference semifinals, and his Brooklyn team is favored to capture its first NBA title.

“Yeah, it’s really hard to tell the difference,” coach Steve Nash said. “He’s not only executing at that level, but he’s able to play the minutes and able to sustain such a high level of efficiency. So it’s hard to say that he has any dip at this point. And his game has picked up as we go.

“He’s gotten more reps, more comfort, especially defensively and on the boards. … When you’re a player that hasn’t played for a long time and you’re a scorer like that, you’re going to focus on trying to get that back first. So he did that, and then he started to pick up the other parts of his game. So it’s very difficult to distinguish him now opposed to before the surgery.”

There’s more on the Nets:

  • The toughest defensive assignment of the second round has been given to Blake Griffin, who is charged with slowing down Giannis Antetokounmpo, writes Paul Schwartz of The New York Post. The two-time MVP scored 33 points in Game 3, but he shot just 14 of 31 from the field and was 1 of 8 from three-point range as Griffin gave him plenty of space to shoot from outside. “I know he’s got points here and there,” Griffin said, “he had points in the last game, but we’re just trying to make it tough on him.”
  • Joe Harris called it “a shooter’s dream” to be surrounded by so much offensive talent in Brooklyn, and Ian O’Connor of The New York Post looks at how he has benefited from the presence of his Big Three teammates.
  • Today’s Game 4 in Milwaukee will be a chance for the Nets to prove that they’re really a great team, O’Connor contends in a separate piece. He states that Brooklyn needs to bounce back from the Game 3 loss, just as it did after Jayson Tatum‘s 50-point outburst when the Celtics won Game 3 in the first round.
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