Kevin Durant has without a doubt been the outright leader for the Brooklyn Nets. He’s the reason why they’re the top team in the Eastern Conference without Kyrie Irving. The storyline all season has been that the Nets need find more help for what seems to be an overused Durant … so why was KD the one taking the blame on Saturday night following a 111-107 loss to Chicago?
Durant scored a team-high 28 points and shot 12-of-26 from the floor. Realistically, that should be enough with a proper supporting case. But James Harden shot 5-of-21 for 14 points, and that’s supposed to be KD’s right-hand man.
Keep in mind that this was the second game of a back-to-back for Brooklyn, and in Friday night’s win against Minnesota, Durant was the one who stepped up in the fourth quarter to save the Nets. With 11 seconds left, KD knocked down a clutch jump shot to push Brooklyn’s lead to five.
Of course, Durant’s just doing what’s expected of him. He’s going to put his team in the position to win games, but as it’s been said before, he can’t do it alone for the duration of an 82-game season and the playoffs. That’s why the Nets have Harden, right? Well, it’s no secret that he’s struggled offensively. This weekend, Harden shot 9-of-32 (28.1%) for a combined 34 points. His struggles are not beginning to dissipate … at all.
Durant scored 58 points and shot 47.7% from the floor on Friday and Saturday combined, so the fact he put any blame on himself for Saturday’s narrow loss is beyond confusing.
Kevin Durant blames himself, not James Harden, for Brooklyn Nets’ loss to Bulls.
That’s … interesting. If you ask the fans that were tuning into the game, they’d say Harden didn’t perform near well enough to take the pressure off Durant.
After Harden blamed himself for the loss, Durant was merely being a good teammate by attempting to shift the attention. KD’s not going to let Harden be under fire as much as he’s been regardless of how poorly he’s performed on the offensive end.
Harden’s been vocal about the issues that he’s faced so far this year, but after leading the Nets with 34 points in a win over the Knicks last Tuesday, it seemed like maybe he was finally starting to get into some type of groove. That proved to be wishful thinking because reality came crashing back down this weekend.
It’s not a question of if Harden can turn into the player that Brooklyn traded for last January … but when he’ll be able to do so. He’s still one of the best players in the league despite the fact he’s mired in this stretch of concerning play.
And for the entirety of Harden’s rut, KD’s been the one there to relieve the pressure on the offensive end. Durant’s playing an average of 36 minutes per game and is producing 28.6 points on 53.3% shooting from the field.
Sure, it would’ve been beneficial to the team if KD would’ve knocked down more shots in the loss against the Bulls, but someone going 12-of-26 will hardly ever be the reason a team didn’t triumph. Harden shooting 5-of-21 overall, 1-of-5 from the 3-point line, and only getting to the charity stripe twice … in addition to being the only starter with a negative point differential on the evening was clearly why Brooklyn couldn’t come out on top.
We can confidently assume Durant was trying to be a good teammate with his comments, because the statistics don’t lie.