CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After 1 of the most tumultuous weeks in current NBA history, an expression that seemed not possible to fathom just a couple of days ago appeared on the faces of Brooklyn Nets players and coaches just after a come-from-behind 98-94 win more than the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday evening — a smile.
The joyous scene Saturday evening inside Spectrum Center capped a week that integrated Nets guard Kyrie Irving initially defending his selection to post about a film and book that featured antisemitic themes and the Nets announcing that Steve Nash was out as head coach Tuesday. As the week progressed, the Nets suspended Irving for at least 5 games just after he failed to formally apologize for his post throughout a Thursday afternoon news conference, although Irving went on to apologize late Thursday evening. Amid the chaos, the Nets lost 4 straight games.
Saturday’s win was Brooklyn’s second straight. Like numerous inside the Nets’ traveling celebration, star forward Kevin Durant smiled proudly at the postgame podium when noting this week was “possibly going to be the toughest issue we deal with as a group.”
“It was a exclusive practical experience for certain,” Durant mentioned just after the game. “But a lot of guys been via distinctive points in this league prior to, and a lot of guys have been via some adversity in this league off the court. Having to lock back in and concentrate solely on the game, I consider that we all get a tiny bit of solace in performing that, just playing the game of basketball, obtaining that camaraderie, that fellowship with your teammates, I consider that was in a position to get us via.”
With the Nets searching tired down the stretch Saturday, it was Durant who helped lead his group back to victory by generating numerous crucial plays. Durant, who completed with 27 points, was inserted back into the game with six:30 left in regulation and the Nets down 87-75. From there, Durant took more than and helped generate space for his teammates as the Nets clawed back for a further a lot-necessary victory.
“There’s going to be far more peaks and valleys all through the season, but this is possibly going to be the toughest issue we deal with as a group,” Durant mentioned. “To know that we can get via this and continue to stick collectively, I consider that is critical.”
Durant was asked if this was the most difficult week of his profession.
“I’ve had some weeks — we’ve fired coaches prior to, guys got injured. It was just a difficult week,” Durant mentioned. “But yeah, I’ve been via some difficult weeks prior to. I do not want to act like this is some anomaly. There’s a lot of s— that goes on in the NBA. It’s a chaotic league. And we’re with each and every other every single day, it really is a six-month, seven-month season. Something is going to come about.
“So it really is definitely all about how you bounce back, and I’m glad we have been in a position to bounce back, get two wins. But we got to maintain pushing, maintain constructing. That’s the issue.”
After the backlash against Irving and Nash’s exit as head coach, the feeling of relief inside the Nets’ locker space was palpable late Saturday evening as players and coaches celebrated the win.
“I just consider we rallied about each and every other,” Durant mentioned. “It was a difficult week for us. And it really is generally superior to just get back to the game. Once the ball is tipped all the bulls— goes out the window.
“So I consider everyone was just waiting to get back to playing, and we also lost 3 or 4 games prior to that, so we just felt some pride and wanted to come out right here and get some W’s. So it really is superior for our character, it really is superior for the power of the group and to fight via adversity.”
The Nets head to Dallas to play the Mavericks on Monday evening, searching for their third straight win in a week the group will not quickly neglect.
“That was a gritty, grimy, Brooklyn-esque sort of fourth quarter,” mentioned Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn. “21-7 run to finish the game — but guys just kept fighting play just after play.”