Net Notes: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden open playoffs with big numbers


In their first week together, let Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving accomplish something that has only been done once before in NBA history.

It was in 1984 that the Denver Nuggets, a run-and-gun team that would suit today’s NBA perfectly, had three players – Kiki Vandeweghe, Alex English and Dan Issel – all averaging at least 24, 0 points in their five-game playoff loss to the Utah Jazz.

That Durant, Harden, and Irving did the same to match that feat while leading Brooklyn’s five-game dispatch against the Boston Celtics in the past 10 days is perhaps not even the most impressive thing to do. About the offensive display they fueled.

“It’s exciting,” Durant said. “First of all, it’s exciting every time I step on the pitch and do something that I’ve done my whole life. But playing against the best players in the world, on this stage, this platform, so many people watching with guys that I found in the league, James, Kyrie, it’s really cool. But I’m not trying to sit idly by and think about how fun it is to play with these guys. I try to go out and do the job and worry about how we’re going to improve each day. It’s fun playing with two guys who do pretty much everything on the basketball court.

Brooklyn averaged 123.4 points per game and recorded 128.0 points per 100 possessions against Boston, numbers that have led the NBA through the playoffs so far. In the 130 minutes they played together in the series, the Nets were offensive rating 136.9 points per 100 possessions.

Those 130 minutes are not far removed from the 202 total that Durant, Harden and Irving played together during the regular season. With Harden returning to action in the final week of the regular season, the main focus of the first round of the playoffs was the connectivity and cohesion that Nets head coach Steve Nash brought to life. preached throughout the season.

How are things going so far?

“I think they are moving further,” Nash said. “Anytime it’s a good or a bad performance, whether it’s consistent or not, I think it leads to more growth, more understanding, more cohesion. In part, they are great players and able to take control of the game on their own. A bit of both and we’ll need both if we’re to continue to improve. “

In the five-game series, Harden averaged 27.8 points, 10.6 assists and 7.2 rebounds on 55.6 / 47.5 / 90.9 shots spread across the field, the 3-point line and the free throw line. In Game 4’s 141-126 victory in which Brooklyn set a playoff scoring record while posting an offensive rating of 143.9 points per 100 possessions, Harden recorded a career-high personal playoff scorecard. 18 assists playoffs.

“He’s a willful passer, he’s looking to pass, he’s looking to get the guys to shoot,” Durant said. “His energy, he comes to the gym every day and there is just excitement in playing basketball. Someone who loves to play so much that their energy is contagious. You could tell that everyone had been drawn to James from the day he arrived here and his presence was key for us.

Irving tallied 39 points and 11 rebounds in Game 4 as the Nets rose 3-1 to take full control of the series, making 6 of 12 3 points. He averaged 24.8 points for the series and continued to push the limits of physics with his crossovers and twisted finishes.

“Kyrie in particular, his brain, his mind is so different that the things he is putting out are unexpected,” Durant said. “One leg, right, pulling the glass, left hand finished, right hand finished handling the ball, I mean, I don’t even know what you can get deep in your brain as a player to be like, “okay, I wanna try this (stuff). ‘ Something that I appreciate as an artist like that. It is a pleasure to watch and to play with.

And Durant? Just 32.6 points per game – the league’s fourth in the playoffs so far – on outrageous shooting spreads of 54.6 / 50.0 / 91.5.

Put the regular season and the playoffs together and the Nets are 10-3 in all 13 games Irving, Harden and Durant have played together. They have also just started.

“Obviously there are some things we need to work on,” Harden said. “Obviously the communication and where the guys like the ball. It must come soon enough. For me, I pretty much know, but I think communication goes a long way. As long as we’re aggressive and kind of communicate throughout the course and our coaches do a great job of getting us into position, that’s all that matters. I think if the others are on the same page and play well, we can connect with the rest of the guys where to be on both sides of the ball, I’ll take our chances against anyone.





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