Still, the game was played without two perennial All-Stars. Anthony Davis missed the game for the Lakers due to an Achilles injury, while Kevin Durant didn’t suit up for the Nets as he continues to deal with a nagging hamstring injury.
That didn’t stop from Durant from having some animated reactions on the Nets bench, though…
Durant Becomes a Meme
There was all-smiles KD, which included some laughs with teammates. There was skeptical KD, which included some major side-eye as if to say, “Are Harden and Kyrie really dismantling the Lakers without me on the floor?”
And thus, a meme was born.
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Another Missed Game, Another Animated Durant on Bench
Thursday’s missed game represented the third straight game Durant missed with his hamstring injury. Ahead of the Lakers game, Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said he had no timeline for Durant’s return at this point, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
“What they want to see is improved strength,” Nash said, via Lewis. “Usually when you have a little injury like this, there’s a strength deficit, and until you have that strength back, it’s not necessarily safe to resume play. So there’s a few progressions he’s got to meet.
“Other than that, we’ve just got to monitor it and see how it goes. The positive thing is he’s had a few days of rest now and is improving. But there’s no timeline still on when we’ll see him again.”
Durant’s unavailability meant more time for him to serve as a big fan of his teammates from the sideline — like he did on Tuesday. In that game against the Phoenix Suns, James Harden hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with about 30 seconds left that ultimately served as the dagger.
On the sideline, Durant reacted with an emphatic fist-pump before giving Irving a friendly shove. Irving stumbled for a moment before gaining his balance, only to seamlessly transition into a dance near the far hoop.
Durant Named All-Star Game Captain
Though he didn’t play Thursday, Durant got some good news before tipoff: the 11-time All-Star and 2014 NBA MVP was the leading vote-getter in the Eastern Conference. Accordingly, he was named team captain for the East.
The Western Conference’s team captain will be LeBron when the two conferences clash during the March 7 All-Star Game in Atlanta.