Nets Ben Simmons Sets Definitive Return Date for Celtics Series: Report

Ben Simmons Trade

Getty Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets sits on the bench during the first quarter of Round 1 Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs against the Boston Celtics

The Brooklyn Nets suffered yet another crushing playoff collapse in Game 2 of their first-round matchup with the Boston Celtics. After leading by 17 points in the first half, the Nets simply could not buy a basket in the second half, as they head back to Brooklyn trailing 2-0 in the series.

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Nets Get Definitive Date on Ben Simmons Return

The Nets landed three-time All-Star Ben Simmons in a blockbuster trade on February 10 in exchange for All-NBA guard James Harden. Simmons still has yet to take the floor for the Nets. But as he nears a return, Simmons has begun to practice more with his teammates. Now trailing 0-2, the Nets are in dire need of something to help them get on the board in the series. NBA Insider Shams Charania of “The Athletic” says that Simmons is targeting Game 4 of the series at the Barclays Center to make his Nets debut.

“Brooklyn Nets three-time All-Star Ben Simmons plans to make his season debut in Game 4 vs. Boston on Monday as long as rehab remains on course, sources tell [The Athletic] and [Stadium]. Simmons is set to play his first game since June 2021,” Charania tweeted on April 21.

Steve Nash Sounds off on Kevin Durant’s Struggles

The swarming defense of the Celtics held Nets star Kevin Durant to just 4-17 shooting from the field, highlighted by a 0-10 nightmare in the second half. This was after the two-time NBA Finals MVP shot just 9-24 in Game 1. But Nets head coach Steve Nash says that the loss cannot be solely placed on Durant’s shoulders.

“This isn’t just about Kevin. It’s about our team playing better. We didn’t walk away from [Game 1] saying, ‘Well, if Kevin plays better, we win.’ That’s not the way we approached it at all. “It’s as a group, what did we do well as a group, what did we not do well as a group, how can we improve those things and play a better team game,” Nash said to reporters after the loss per NetsDaily.

“It’d be great if Kevin has a better game. At the same time, this is not all on Kevin. He’s carried us so far and he’ll continue to carry us. At the same time, we’ve got to support him. We’ve got to play better as a group, and we’ve got to do better in totality.”

Kevin Durant Sounds off on Celtics Defense

The Celtics have had a clear focus on defense, and that is to make somebody else besides Durant beat them by doubling or sometimes even triple-teaming him. And it has worked to this point. In Game 2, Durant had more turnovers (6) than made field goals (4). But Durant says that is just playoff defense, and he knows that he will have to adjust if the Nets hope to get back into this series.

“They’re playing two or three guys on me sometimes when I’m off the ball, mucking up actions when I run off stuff,” Durant said after the loss per NetsDaily. “I see [Al] Horford leaving his man and coming over to hit me sometimes. There are two or three guys hitting me wherever I go. That’s just the nature of the beast in the playoffs.”

The Nets are in dangerous territory as a loss in their next game could put them in an 0-3 hole, a deficit that no team in NBA history has been able to overcome. It will be interesting to see if they can make this series interesting with a win.

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