The Brooklyn Nets came into Sunday’s matchup against the Detroit Pistons looking to go above .500 for the first time this season. The Nets clobbered the Pistons by a score of 117-91. The team now improves to an overall record of 4-3 on the season.
Nets superstar Kevin Durant improved on what has already been a strong Most Valuable Player award campaign in their win over the Pistons. Durant finished with 23 points on an efficient 10-13 shooting from the field to go along with 5 assists. Even more impressive was that he did all of that in just 27 minutes played. That’s because Durant was ejected early in the second half.
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Kevin Durant Ejected for Elbowing Kelly Olynyk
During the 3rd quarter KD was fighting over a screen and elbowed Pistons big man Kelly Olynyk. Referees ruled that Durant’s elbow to Olynyk was unnecessary and excessive. As a result, he was hit with a flagrant 2 which is an automatic ejection.
Durant sounded off about the play after the game:
“I tried to run through the screen. That was just a result of me trying to blow the screen up. From looking at it from the tape, it looked like I extended a little bit, but I was just trying to blow the screen up,” Durant said of his ejection per NetsDaily. “It is what it is.”
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James Harden Slowly Is Getting Back to Form
Though the Nets would have rather had Durant available for the entire contest, one positive takeaway from his ejection is that Harden seems to be settling into his role after a slow start. Durant’s absence forced Harden to be the catalyst of the Nets offense. Just from Harden’s body language in the win, you can see he is finally starting to build a rhythm.
“I’m just playing. I think the confidence and just my rhythm and all that is coming back simultaneously together,” Harden said per NetsDaily.
Harden messed around and got a triple-double registering 18 points on 6-9 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and 12 assists. It is Harden’s 13th triple-double since joining the Nets last season. It is also the 59th triple-double of his career, tying him with Hall of Famer Larry Bird for 7th on the all-time triple-double list.
“It feels much, much better,” Harden continued. “I kind of knew I was going to have a slow start just because I wasn’t playing a lot but I knew the work was going to catch up and ultimately I was going to get back to where I was going to be. Game by game, I just feel better. Just overall, much better.”
Nets head coach Steve Nash also notes that Harden has made visible progress from where he was at the start of the season.
“I think he’s improving in all areas,” Nash said of Harden per NetsDaily. “I think his conditioning, explosiveness, his confidence, his feel, his rhythm, and everything is moving forward in the right direction.”
The Nets still have a way to go before we can say they are playing to their full potential. But sitting at a 4-3 record they are in a lot better shape than they were to start the season. They have a nice rest before they take on the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday for the final matchup of a 6-game homestand.