NBA

Durant salutes stricken Nets after 'amazing' OT win over Raptors

By Sports Desk December 15, 2021

Kevin Durant said it felt "amazing to be out there" as he inspired the short-handed Brooklyn Nets to victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.

There had been some doubt about whether the game would even go ahead after the Nets' list of players in the league's health and safety protocols grew to seven, James Harden and Bruce Brown ruled out within an hour of tip-off.

Durant had also been questionable due to an ankle problem but powered through a game-changing 48 minutes as the Nets won 131-129 in overtime.

Having mustered a season-high 51 points in the win over the Detroit Pistons last Sunday – the eighth 50-point game of his NBA career – Durant posted a triple-double of 34 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

He is the first forward or center to follow a 50-point game with a triple-double since Wilt Chamberlain back in 1968.

"We had to debate Kevin's situation," coach Steve Nash said. "Obviously, we're talking about a franchise player; we don't want to risk it. So we're probably more cautious than he is, but he really wanted to play, and so that was it."

Durant's inspirational impact came as part of a side featuring four rookies, his 14th career triple-double taking the Eastern Conference leaders to 20-8.

"Man, I can't even explain how I feel," he said. "It's December and we're down seven players and we easily could've punted this game.

"But we saw an opportunity for us to grow and get better, especially the younger guys who haven't played a lot of meaningful games in the NBA, especially against a championship organisation like Toronto. [It] was an amazing test for us.

"I'm so proud to just be a part of this group and play with these young dudes... man, it was amazing to be out there."

The Philadelphia 76ers are next up for the Nets at Barclays Center on Friday.

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