Don’t expect Kevin Durant to have as rough an outing as he did in Game 1 when the Nets return to the court on Wednesday for Game 2. Simply put, Brooklyn can’t afford for that to happen again.
The Nets superstar shot just 9-of-24 from the field and was 1-for-6 in the opening 12 minutes. Durant did finish the day with 23 points, but was 1-of-5 from three-point range and struggled against the suffocating defense of the Boston Celtics.
“They did a good job of forcing me away and then helping in the paint,” Durant said. I just have to be more fundamental with my moves. I feel like some shots went in and out for me today, but I still have gotta be, I played fast. I just gotta slow down and play my game, but they did a good job of making me see bodies.”
It’s no secret that Durant is one of the biggest offensive catalysts for the Nets and the Celtics were prepared for that. Durant saw double just about every time he was on the court and Boston forced him to make six of Brooklyn’s 16 turnovers during the Game 1 loss.
Even without the ball, Durant was forced to deal with an aggressive scheme that pestered him all game.
“I feel like teams are going to be designed to try to take away some of my catches and my opportunities,” Durant explained. “I’ve been dealing with it for a while and it’s on me to just keep playing through it and I felt like I got some good looks there in the first, second half, but they didn’t fall. Maybe I was rushing a bit. My fundamentals wasn’t down trying to play it before help comes.
“Sometimes I rush my shots, but it’s about looking at the game and seeing where I can be better individually. And shifting my mindset a bit as I start the game and see where I go from there.”
Nets head coach Steve Nash chalked up the performance from Durant as a product of the physicality of the Celtics’ defense. While the shooting performance was the second time in Durant’s last three games that he shot below 40% from the field, Nash wasn’t overreacting to the situation.
“Kevin is Kevin Durant for a reason,” Nash said. “He figures things out on his own very, very well. We’ll definitely look at it collectively and we’ll improve.”
Durant has made it a habit of rebounding after a sluggish shooting performance this season. After shooting 5-of-17 in the final game of the regular season, he went 9-of-16 and put up 25 points in the play-in round against Cleveland the following game.
Game 2 of Brooklyn’s series with Boston takes place on Wednesday at TD Garden.