Nets Notes: Simmons, Nash, Durant, Griffin

Ben Simmons is targeting Monday’s Game 4 to make his debut with the Nets, but coach Steve Nash isn’t committing to anything, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Simmons went through a full workout today, which Nash said went well, but he cautioned that it’s difficult to start playing at this point of the season.

“I think it’s possible, but I’m not sure,” Nash told reporters before tonight’s game. “Like I said before, it’s not a normal return to play, having been off for nine months and being injured as long as he has been at the back of this, going on two months now – I think if I’m not mistaken – or more, so it’s not just, he got through three workouts and he’s ready to play. There’s a lot of bigger picture, bigger context — how he’s feeling, how able he would be to adapt to the environment. It’s a little different than playing a game that’s in the middle of the regular season so I think there’s a few factors at play to evaluate when he’s ready to play.”

Simmons was just cleared for contact five days ago as he continues to make progress from the back ailment that has kept him out of action since Brooklyn acquired him in February. He hasn’t played since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals more than 10 months ago.

There’s more on the Nets:

  • The Celtics‘ defensive approach has forced Kevin Durant into two of the worst playoff games of his career, observes Sam Amick of The Athletic. Amick talked to a pair of scouts who point out that Boston is being physical with Durant before he gets the ball and has guarded him with six different players so far. Durant is coming off a 4-for-17 performance in Game 2 and committed six turnovers in each of the first two games of the series.
  • The Nets are in danger of letting another of Durant’s prime years slip away, warns Ian O’Connor of The New York Post. O’Connor notes that it’s not a sure thing that Durant and Kyrie Irving will both be healthy at playoff time ever again, so the Nets should have a sense of urgency to get back in the series.
  • After missing the first two games of the series with a sprained left ankle, Blake Griffin was upgraded to available for Game 3, Lewis tweets. The veteran big man hasn’t played since April 2.
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