With Andre Iguodala in his face, Kevin Durant received the ball alongside the baseline, took two dribbles and stopped. His former teammate jumped at his pump fake, allowing Durant to hit a fadeaway, one of his trademark shots, and sank it. Less than two minutes later, he was injured and out of the game with a left thigh contusion.
In less than four minutes of the Nets’ 109-107 loss in Miami, Durant looked like his old self while confronting his new reality. Durant’s game is better than ever. He scored Brooklyn’s first eight points, making all three shots while looking unguardable. But he’s struggled to stay healthy in his first year back after tearing his right Achilles in June 2019. Playing in just his fourth game back from a right hamstring strain that sidelined him for two months (with James Harden close to returning), Durant has the Nets facing another possible hurdle in their quest to get healthy and mesh before the postseason.
“The timing of everything this year has just been a telltale sign of what life is right now in terms of the uncertainty of a lot going on,” Kyrie Irving said after the game. “Anything could happen at any moment, so we don’t want to take anything for granted. But anytime one of our teammates goes down, anytime something like that happens, it’s definitely going to take a hit for us. And he’s just gotten back. We just pray that it’s not too serious and he’s able to recover, but it definitely has a hit on our continuity at times.”
Durant’s injury came on a drive to the basket with 10:30 left in the first quarter where he banged into Trevor Ariza, who fouled him on the play. An 88 percent free throw shooter, Durant uncharacteristically missed both and was limping on the ensuing possessions. Despite hitting the shot over Iguodala, Durant played gingerly the next two minutes before he was subbed out. Shortly after, he was ruled out for the rest of the game.