The massive day for the Nets’ Big 3 finally has arrived — and never a second too quickly with the NBA playoffs on the horizon.
For the time because the eve of Valentines Day’s — a stretch of 91 days that included 42 video games — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden are anticipated to share the ground for the Nets on Saturday towards the Bulls within the second-to-last recreation of the common season. Getting these three collectively had confirmed as tough as recognizing Bigfoot or wiggling your individual ears, however now?
“Yes, I think [Saturday] will be the day,” coach Steve Nash stated after Friday’s apply. “If everything stays the same, those three will play.”
The final piece is Irving returning after he missed Wednesday’s recreation with a facial contusion. The longest impediment was Durant getting back from a 23-game absence after he strained his left hamstring on Feb. 13. Just as Durant returned, Harden went out for 18 straight with a proper hamstring pressure. Harden returned solely to discover Irving was being held out as a precaution despite a negative scan and no concussion symptoms.
“Whether it’s good, bad or indifferent from a performance standpoint,” Nash stated, “it is an experience, and it is something we can put in the bank. The reality for our team is that everything is so new. We’ve had so little time together.”
It will likely be simply the eighth time this season the Big 3 has been entire. But this is also about uniting a beginning 5.
The final time Irving, Harden and Durant performed collectively was the evening after Blake Griffin performed his last recreation for the Pistons. Griffin made his Nets’ debut on March 21 and should discover his place within the quick time earlier than the playoffs.
“He’s a phenomenal player … with a high IQ,” ahead Jeff Green stated of Griffin. “So I’m sure it’s not going to be a problem with him trying to find his way in how to play with those three guys on the floor. He’s going to figure it out, and he’s going to have success doing that.”
Nic Claxton is in the identical boat. He made his season debut Feb. 23.
“Probably two of our better lineups have never played together,” Nash stated. “We’re not a team that’s running it back for Year 3, 4, 5, that’s going to rely on our past experiences. We’re a team that has to build while we’re trying to win. That is our gap and our challenge, so [Saturday] will just be a nice step in the direction.”
Griffin has been a pleasing shock for the Nets, capturing considerably higher from the ground (50.9 %), behind the 3-point arc (40.3) and the free-throw line (78.4) than he was with the Pistons, whereas averaging 10.4 factors and 4.8 rebounds per recreation. Has the 32-year-old, six-time All-Star turned again the clock?
“Turned back the clock?” Green requested rhetorically. “You make him seem old. He’s not old at all. I think everybody just threw dirt on his name because of the last year he had in Detroit. But playing through the injuries he had, it’s tough.”
Nash received’t let chemistry cease him from constructing playoff rotations. The Big 3, Joe Harris and Griffin or Claxon might be the crunch-time look.
“Those are lineups you’re guaranteed to see in the playoffs,” Nash stated. “We don’t really have a choice. We don’t have the luxury of big sample size or much debate about it. We’re going to have to figure it out and continue to improve and put the pieces together on the fly.”
The remainder of the Eastern Conference absolutely seen Wednesday that Harden seemed as if he hadn’t missed a beat in his absence. Whether he — or any of the celebrities — play in each of the back-to-back video games this weekend might rely upon whether or not or not playoff seeding nonetheless is undecided Sunday towards the Cavaliers.
“I think we’ll monitor it and protect him,” Nash stated. “But he should be able to play more than he played last game. It’s not like we want him to go out there and play 40 minutes. I think we have to find our sweet spot as to how much is needed and how much we can protect him.”
All restrictions will likely be off quickly sufficient.
“We’re getting to finally try to create a rhythm with all guys healthy. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most,” Green stated. “That was my biggest concern, so I’m just glad we are at that point where we can say we are healthy and we are ready.”