After sustaining an injury against the Miami Heat on Jan. 8, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant had an MRI on Jan. 9 to determine its severity. Durant was diagnosed with a sprained right MCL and was originally scheduled to be re-examined in two weeks. Jan. 23 marked two weeks since Durant was sidelined and Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn addressed reporters about his imminent return.
“Yeah, I really said let me know in two weeks,” Vaughn told reporters Jan. 23 via the New York Post. “Other than that I didn’t ask for an update and look forward to the two week update.”
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Nets starting center Nicolas Claxton is causing a stir with his game again this season. In his last game against the Golden State Warriors, Claxton had perhaps his most impressive game of the season when he had 24 points and 15 rebounds, both career highs. It’s a performance on par with Claxton’s breakout season as he averages career bests in almost every statistical category, including 2.7 blocks per game in the league and 73.3% shots from the field.
Claxton also made history against the Warriors when he set the franchise record for consecutive games with at least three blocks of 12 consecutive games. The record was previously set twice by Shawn Bradley in 1996, according to the New York Post. After the win, Claxton spoke about his impressive performance.
“Yeah I knew I was close and I knew I didn’t have any blocks in the first half so I knew I had to come out and get a few. That’s great. To break that record is great,” said Claxton.
“I feel like the sky is the limit. I only play for free. There are a lot more opportunities out there for myself and my teammates find me and I stay aggressive with the minutes I’m given and I just have fun and just play. I’m having a lot of fun and definitely feel like the sky is the limit.”
The Nets scored four of their five starters in double figures in the win over the Warriors. But none came taller than Kyrie Irving, who lost 38 points, including five three-pointers. After losing four straight games without Kevin Durant and struggling off the field, Irving has come out big for the Nets with back-to-back wins averaging 43 points per game at the stretch. Irving alerted the league to what to expect from him and the Nets for the remainder of the season after the win.
“I told you guys I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the first option or the second option or the main option. This is just a message for everyone at home: first option, second option, third option, I don’t give a damn about them. It doesn’t matter who has the ball as long as they’re aggressive and it’s the best shot for our team,” Irving said.
“The goal of this team sport is to win basketball games; Don’t identify a person who wears everyone every night. Some nights it will happen or seem so. For me it’s the team spirit, the team atmosphere and the life of the results when we play together and collectively.”
It will be interesting to see how Irving follows up on his performance in Brooklyn’s next game against the Philadelphia 76ers.