The main story before the Nets’ visit to San Francisco on Saturday was Kevin Durant’s return to the Bay Area, where he won championships with the Warriors. The meeting went according to plan: there was a lot of love for KD and Brooklyn won comfortably, 134-117.
But then came the postgame interviews, where another one of the Nets stars said something that pushed Durant’s story aside.
The statement became one of the top three takeaways from ABC’s primetime showdown.
Plot twist: Brooklyn gets a new look in the backcourt
Kyrie Irving casually dropped that the Nets’ offense has undergone a major change: Now they are playing off the ball and James Harden is the main ball handler. The trade worked very well against Golden State: Harden had 19 points and 16 assists in 35 minutes, while Irving had 23 points and four assists in 34 minutes.
“I feel like he’s been doing a great job handling the point guard role,” he added. Irving said. “Did we establish that, maybe four days ago? I just looked at him and said, ‘You’re the point guard and I’m going to play point guard,’ and that was as simple as that.
“He’s been taking control of responsibilities and doing an amazing job. He just makes my job easier, just go out there and play free and just make plays. It’s a luxury.”
NBA ALL-STAR VOTING – How it works, fan voting end date, latest results and leaders
“Four days ago” on Saturday would have been sometime during the Nets’ midweek against the Pistons and Pacers. Harden had 12 dimes against Detroit on Tuesday, but just five the following night against Indiana.
Irving said something else that made the change seem more of a personal quest.
“It is easy to face someone who is willing to complement your game and [is] ready for sacrifice, and it’s easy for me to do it, “he said.” I think I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to show that playing with other great players, not just [Team] USA, not just All-Star Games or anything like that, but able to fit into a high-level group, not just for scoring or not just for passing or anything like that, just keep doing the little things, the details for to win. . ”
The role reversal is not surprising; Irving and Harden can excel in both places. It’s more that Irving announced it to the world the way he did. Makes one wonder if Nets coach Steve Nash at least got a heads up after the trade was made. If you didn’t, you probably found out once you saw the tandem operate on the court.
KD comes back like. . . a center?
The official NBA box score listed Bruce Brown as 6-4 as the Nets’ starting center, but Durant was advertised on social media as the top five instead of the absent DeAndre Jordan (personal). The 7-0 Durant didn’t change their game for the small-ball Warriors, who started Draymond Green in center, so the change was basically semantic.
More importantly, Durant came back to the stream after missing a week with the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. He wasn’t great from the court (8 of 19 overall, 1 of 6 from 3), but he was one of six Nets to score in double figures, scoring 20 points in 33 minutes.
“It’s good to be back on the court. It’s good to be back doing something I love to do every day. It’s good to get a good victory on this road trip.” Durant said.
The warriors couldn’t stick to the plan
Golden State was down by just three after the first minutes of the second quarter; That’s when Brooklyn started a 12-4 streak to lead by double digits. The Nets led 66-51 at halftime.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr had a hard time seeing how his team handled playing against one of the best teams in the NBA.
“We don’t play a very conscious game,” he said. “You have to go into a game like this knowing that you are a loser and knowing that you have to follow a game plan and you have to have a plan. [for] how to beat them, and it felt like we were playing without much plan. “
Green was more inclined to congratulate Durant and Co.
“The game plan was to help each other, and their staff is such that it makes it difficult to do so,” Green said. by NBC Sports Bay Area. “We didn’t execute the game plan well. But by saying that, they’re part of the reason we didn’t do it. I mean, you have to give them a lot of credit for the reasons we didn’t.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.