Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving joined forces to win championships.
Now in their second season together on the Brooklyn Nets, they’re on the brink of getting swept in the first round against the Boston Celtics.
Of course, there are factors to how the 2022 season, in particular, played out for the Nets. Despite Irving missing most of the regular season because of his vaccination status against COVID-19, Kevin Durant and James Harden guided Brooklyn to the No. 1 seed during the early portion of the season.
Then Durant went down with an injury in mid-January and didn’t return until March. The Nets went on a lengthy losing streak that saw them fall from the standings, which led to James Harden being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Ben Simmons and Seth Curry were among the pieces that came to the Nets, but Simmons has yet to suit up for his new team.
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Brooklyn bounced back at the end of the season to claim the No. 7 seed through the play-in tournament, but it booked a first-round matchup against the No. 2 Celtics, which boasted the top-ranked defense in the NBA during the regular season – and it’s showing in the series.
Durant and Irving have had no success against the Celtics’ versatile defensive rotation. Durant posted a 4-of-17 shooting performance in the Game 2 loss only to follow it up with 16 points in the Game 3 loss at home. Irving had just 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting in Game 2 and also mustered just 16 in Game 3.
Though Simmons is reportedly returning for Game 4, a 4-0 sweep is definitely a possibility with the way both teams have performed. With Durant and Irving on the brink of an embarrassing early playoff exit, NBA Twitter roasted the two superstars, mostly on their decision to team up despite being in good situations beforehand:
Boston, led by Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, have done a phenomenal job on defense that has been a primary factor in Durant and Irving’s struggles. Fans have pointed that out:
Game 4 will be in Brooklyn on Monday, April 25 at 7 p.m. ET.