Nets Coach Steve Nash was quick to defend Kevin Durant when asked if his star player was no longer at the ‘pinnacle’ of the NBA.
“If Kevin doesn’t score a bucket tonight, I think it would be perilous to say Kevin Durant’s apex is behind him. He’s been unbelievable this year. Unbelievable,” Nash said.
Nash continued, offering up ‘perspective on part of the ingredients’ of why Durant has been struggling against the Celtics in the first round.
“He’s carried a huge burden for us, particularly coming off a seven-week absence. Think about that. That’s not easy. To come back from a knee situation he missed seven weeks, he fought to come back. He comes back; then he has to play 40 plus minutes a night, defend, protect the rim, score prolifically, lead his team. That’s — a lot of burden. So if it cumulates in a patch of play that’s unlike Kevin, you have to have perspective on part of the ingredients that are there and why.”
Durant is averaging 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists in 37.2 minutes of play per game on the season. Since returning from a knee injury on March 3rd, Durant has averaged 31.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.6 assists in 38.6 minutes of play per game.
As for the rough ‘patch of play’ against the Celtics that Nash alluded to not looking like the Durant we know, Durant has averaged 22 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in 43.1 minutes per game while shooting 36.5 percent from the field — a number far below his season average of 51.8 percent.