This second-round playoff sequence between the Nets and the Bucks received’t solely be determined by the primary postseason matchup between Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Nets’ celebrity ahead says he at all times relishes alternatives to face the NBA’s finest gamers, and the following 4 to seven video games going through the Greek Freak — the two-time reigning league MVP — can be no totally different.
“It’s cool to compete against the best on this stage at this point of the season,” Durant mentioned Friday on a Zoom name. “It’s at all times enjoyable difficult your self towards a number of the finest, and these battles have made me a greater participant, raised my consciousness on the market on the courtroom by taking part in towards such nice groups and likewise nice gamers and coaches.
“So [it’s] just another opportunity to go out there and enjoy the moment. Every moment you get to play is incredible, so when you’re out there with the best players in the world, MVPs and Defensive Players of the Year, it just makes it even better.”
Durant received two NBA titles and successive Finals MVP awards with the Warriors in 2017 and 2018, earlier than struggling a torn Achilles in a Finals loss to the Raptors the next yr.
Durant teamed up with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn that summer time by way of free company, though he sat out your entire yr rehabbing his harm.
James Harden was acquired in January to finish the Nets’ Big 3. After showing in solely eight video games collectively in the course of the common season, the trio was intact for the whole thing of the Nets’ five-game ousting of the Celtics within the first spherical.
“The goal is to win and to improve. I thought we won, and we improved,” mentioned Durant, who averaged 32.6 factors and 37.0 minutes towards Boston. “I believe the tangible nature of these targets is troublesome to say.
“It’s more about spending time playing, competing, feeling what it’s like out there with the fuller complement of our roster and getting the timing. So I thought it was a success in that we won, that we had some good performances. We learned a little bit about ourselves, I think, and we also spent the time that allows us to gain some understanding and cohesion that I think is clearly what we lack.”
The Bucks had been led of their sweep of the Heat by their prime three gamers: Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.
“We obviously have three outstanding offensive players. They have three outstanding players as well,” Durant mentioned. “And they’ve an incredible supporting solid. They have continuity and sort of company information and customary experiences.
“We have a great supporting cast, as well. It’s fascinating. It will be interesting to see how the matchups shake out, how the teams are able to cope with one another and to see the story of the series. I’m just excited to see where this goes, where our team is able to take our growth and development and how we’re able to adapt to the demands of the Bucks in the series.”
Durant appeared in not fairly half of the Nets’ regular-season video games (35 of 72), however he posted averages of 34.7 factors and 9.3 boards in 38.7 minutes in the course of the three-game regular-season sequence towards Milwaukee.
Irving missed a type of head-to-head matchups, whereas Harden sat out two late within the season with a hamstring harm.
“I mean, we’re going to have our full team together. It’s definitely good to have everyone on the same page, everybody healthy,” Durant mentioned. “We’re looking forward to going out there and playing and trying to advance our season, but we’ll see what happens.”