Durant started out the gate strong, scoring 16 points in the first quarter on his way to 53 points to lead the Nets to a 110-107 victory over the New York Knicks. KD’s 53 points set a franchise single-game scoring record for most points scored against their crosstown rival. He shot 19-37 from the field with nine assists and six rebounds in his 60th career 40-point performance.
The Nets controlled most of the game, but a Knicks rally to take a 103-101 lead set the stage for Durant’s theatrics with less than a minute to go. A clutch three-pointer from the right-wing snapped a 103-all tie with 56 seconds remaining. Then he knocked down four free throws to close out the game.
While Durant spent most of his press conference talking about the vaccine policy, Nets Coach Steve Nash spoke about the preparation without Irving that goes into a performance like Durant’s via ESPN.
“We just keep proceeding with the task that we can control. That’s getting better every day, and obviously, we wish he was back yesterday, but the reality is we only focus on what we can control.”
The next time KD and Kai play together will be Tuesday when the Nets (34-33) take on the Orlando Magic (18-51). Brooklyn will play 11 of their next games without the services of Irving.