Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving joined forces to win championships.
Now in their second season together on the Brooklyn Nets, they’re set for a first-round sweep against the Boston Celtics.
Of course, there are factors that explain how the 2022 season, in particular, has gone for the Nets. Although Irving missed most of the regular season due to his COVID-19 vaccine status, Kevin Durant and James Harden guided Brooklyn to the No. 1 seed early in the season.
Then Durant was injured in mid-January and didn’t return until March. The Nets went on a long losing streak that saw them fall in the standings, which led to James Harden being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Ben Simmons and Seth Curry were among the pieces that arrived on the Nets, but Simmons has yet to choose his new team.
Brooklyn bounced back at the end of the season to claim the No. 7 seed in the qualifying tournament, but booked a first-round game against the No. 2 Celtics, who boasted the top-ranked defense in the NBA during the regular season – and it shows in the series.
Durant and Irving had no success against the Celtics’ versatile defensive rotation. Durant posted a 4-of-17 shooting performance in the Game 2 loss to follow that 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 had just 16 in Game 3.
Although Simmons would be back for Game 4, a 4-0 sweep is certainly a possibility given the performance of both teams. With Durant and Irving on the verge of an embarrassing exit early in the playoffs, NBA Twitter roasted the two superstars, mostly on their decision to team up despite their good predicament:
Boston, led by Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, did a phenomenal job on defense that was a huge factor in Durant and Irving’s struggles. Fans pointed this out:
Game 4 will take place in Brooklyn on Monday, April 25 at 7 p.m. ET.