Kevin Durant has returned to on-court practice but the Brooklyn Nets are still not offering any timeframes on his return to play.

Durant has been sidelined since January 16 with an MCL strain in his left knee, with reports he will not return until after the All-Star Game on February 20.

The Nets have lost 10 in a row in the absence of Durant, who is averaging 29.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game this season.

Durant joined the Nets for their current road trip, marking the first time since sustaining the injury and noted he is edging closer to a return.

"I'm getting better every day," Durant told reporters prior to Saturday's game against the Miami Heat.

"It's obviously a process to get back on the court and I'm going through that every day. I'm feeling much better as each week passes. It's slow but you know I'm looking forward to ramping things up."

He added: "I feel that the next couple weeks that I'll start to do more. That's probably as much as I can give you and I don't know for sure.

"I'm just listening to the training staff, just doing my job and coming in and following the game plan every day. Whatever they give me.

"But from the last few weeks I feel like they'll be able to give me more and more each day goes on so I'll ramp up here soon and we'll see what happens.

"I want to be back as fast as possible but I also know that I don't want to go out there and be 80 percent. I want to be 100 so I can be the best that I can be."

Nets head coach Steve Nash also declined to offer any timelines on 12-time All-Star's likely return.

"He's on the court shooting, working through things, looking really good," Nash said on Saturday. "There's still a period of time he's got to go through to get over the line, but really positive."

The Nets also confirmed new trade acquisitions Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond would not yet debut against the Heat on Saturday.

Steve Nash could not help but contemplate the "what ifs" after James Harden's brief tenure with the Brooklyn Nets was ended in a big trade-deadline deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

One of the most prolific shooters in NBA history, Harden was drafted to the Nets in January 2021 to form a tantalising big three alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

However, a combination of factors limited the amount of game time the trio enjoyed on court together, with Durant contending with injuries and Irving unable to play home fixtures this season as he is unvaccinated against COVID-19. Health protocols in New York mean players have to be jabbed to play in the city

Harden averaged just 22.5 points per game this season, his lowest average since the 2011-12 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, as well as 8.0 rebounds and 10.2 assists.

Despite head coach Nash consistently saying Harden would not be moved on, he was sent to Philly in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond.

The deal reportedly also includes the Sixers sending the Nets an unprotected 2022 first-round pick as well as a protected 2027 first-round pick. The Nets also included Paul Millsap in the deal.

Speaking after the Nets were defeated 113-112 by the Washington Wizards – their 10th loss in a row – Nash could not help but wonder how things could have played out differently in last season's playoffs when they lost out in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Milwaukee Bucks.

"You're up 2-0 against the NBA champs, and then to not have James in the first games and then Kyrie in the last games, James being on one leg, Jeff Green being out of the lineup, all sorts of things that hampered our opportunity to win," Nash said. 

"To take them to overtime in Game 7, you definitely think there are some what-ifs, but that's life. You can't look back. You've got to look forward."

Nash, who said it was a "pleasure" to coach a "historic" player, added on the trade: "I think in the last hours, as the hours ticked by today, it seemed more apparent. 

"But you're never surprised. When I was asked those questions [about whether he would be traded], there was no conversation between the two teams."

The Nets have slid down the Eastern Conference standings and sit eighth as a result of their barren run.

But with the new additions, and Durant (sprained MCL), LaMarcus Aldridge (sprained ankle), Joe Harris (ankle surgery) and Nic Claxton (left hamstring tightness) all to come back, Nash remains hopeful the Nets can get back on track. 

"Yeah, I think we always set our sights at that," Nash said. "We're excited by the pieces that are coming in. 

"Obviously, we're on a time crunch a little bit and getting everyone healthy, gaining some cohesion and building a team that can flow and play at both ends of the floor, but we're not taking our foot off the gas. 

"We want to try to build and reach for the stars and try to have a sense of urgency with this new addition."

Irving said he made no attempt to try and convince Harden to stay but added he wished his now former teammate well in his future endeavours.

"That's not really my place, in terms of trying to convince somebody of something that he probably can't see right now," Irving said. 

"James probably couldn't see what we were getting into. Obviously with my status being in and out, I saw a few things maybe that could have impacted things.

"But who knows, we got to wait for him - I can't really speak for James.

"I think we're also forgetting, too, where I've asked for a trade, and I understand it, so I'm not here to judge him. I'm not here to talk bad on James. 

"He has a great family, he's a great person. And I don't want to separate that fact from anything. I just really want him to be happy. I want everybody in this league to be happy."

The Brooklyn Nets will not trade James Harden says head coach Steve Nash.

The 2018 MVP has been the subject of trade speculation as Thursday's deadline approaches but the Nets head coach quashed the talk.

Harden, who joined the Nets from the Houston Rockets in January last year, had turned down a three-year extension in the off-season fueling the rumours.

"Yes, that's correct," Nash told reporters before Sunday's 124-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets, when asked if the Nets do not plan to trade Harden.

He added: "I've talked to James; he wants to be here. He wants to be here long term as well, so I don't think anything's changed other than noise from the outside.

"James wants to be here, we're building with James and we think we have the best chance to win with James.

"I don't think anything's changed on the inside, in our locker room, in our communication, it's just all the noise from the [outside]."

Harden's Nets teammate Kyrie Irving, who scored 27 points with 11 assists against the Nuggets, reiterated Nash's sentiment that the 32-year-old guard was committed to Brooklyn.

"The few conversations that we've had, he's been really committed, and we just hold him to his word, but obviously when we're going out to play games we can't even really think about it," Irving said.

"We would love to have him in the lineup, at his optimum healthy version of himself, and then we'll let the rest take care of it, but who knows? Who knows what's going to happen?"

Harden was absent for the Nuggets defeat with hamstring tightness, which has forced him out of the Nets' past two games, not helping end their eight-game losing skid.

"It's day-to-day," Nash said. "It's a matter of does that strength get back to where we feel confident and he feels confident that we're not risking anything. That's what we're dealing with right now."

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is not worried about Stephen Curry's recent shooting slump after another "tough night" in Saturday's 110-106 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Curry made 14 of his 19 points in the final quarter, shooting five-of-18 for the game including three-of-10 from beyond the arc, as the Warriors edged past the Nets minus James Harden (hand) and Kevin Durant (knee).

The two-time MVP's struggles continued a below-par recent run, shooting at 35 percent from the field and 29 percent from beyond the arc in his past five games. Curry has shot at 42 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range across this season.

"It's a question I'll keep getting if he's not shooting the ball well, but I'm not worried about him," Kerr said at the post-game news conference.

"I'm not. He's Steph Curry, one of the great players of all time. He's had a tough night tonight but he helps us win routinely and does so much beyond just making shots. It'll come round for him."

Curry has previously been impacted by a hand injury and appeared to favour that at times on Saturday but Kerr insisted it was not currently an issue or reason for his slump.

"He's told me he feels great physically," Kerr said. "We've talked a lot about the schedule and the minutes.

"I'm really aware of what needs to happen in terms of monitoring his minute and when we can push him harder and when we can't. I think he's in a good place physically. He's going to be fine."

Curry became the Warriors' all-time career leader in games after surpassing Chris Mullin's mark of 808 appearances on Saturday.

The 33-year-old point guard broke the NBA's all-time record for most three-pointers made earlier this season while he also holds several single-season team milestones too, but Kerr praised Curry's loyalty, having been with the Warriors since being pick seven in the 2009 NBA Draft.

“I love that particular record just because it signifies his loyalty to the franchise and vice-versa,” Kerr said pre-game.

“The love affair that exists between Steph and The Bay is pretty unique.”

First-time All-Star Andrew Wiggins kept the Warriors going in the first half with 17 points, finishing with a team-high 24 points along with eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

"Andrew was phenomenal tonight. [Two] blocks and three steals," Kerr said. "[He was] All over the place defensively and on offense he was our most consistent player.

"He carried us in the first half. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and showing why he's an All-Star."

Meanwhile, Nets head coach Steve Nash offered an update on Harden who missed the game with a hand strain.

"We'll have to see how it settles but we're hopeful [for next game]," Nash said.

James Harden was absent from the Brooklyn Nets starting line-up on Saturday for the second straight game but this time it was due to a separate issue.

Harden missed Saturday's game against the Golden State Warriors with a right hand issue which required an MRI that showed a strain.

The 2018 MVP had missed Wednesday's 124-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets with left hamstring tightness.

"James' hand has been bothering him for a few days," Nets head coach Steve Nash told reporters before the Warriors game.

"He thought it was nothing and then it really flared up this morning when he woke up. Obviously he irritated what he was feeling [Friday] and then this morning he woke up with some irritation so we had a scan.

"I think what we're calling it is a hand strain from the doctor. Just unfortunate."

Harden had got through Friday practice with the Nets, already without Kevin Durant due to a left knee sprain, who had expected him to play on Saturday.

Nash did not provide a timeline on 32-year-old Harden's return to play but indicated it was minor.

"Clean of the bad stuff, but a strain for sure," Nash said of the MRI. "There's stuff on the MRI, so he's feeling something, feeling the strain.

"It's been bothering him, but he was like, 'Yeah, it's nothing'. Now it's a little more than nothing. He woke up with a marked difference in the hand."

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash has provided injury updates on James Harden and Kevin Durant after reports that the latter would be out until after the All-Star Game.

Harden missed Wednesday's 124-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets with "hamstring tightness" while Durant has not played since spraining his MCL on January 15.

The Nets did not provide a timeframe on Durant's return although ESPN claimed it would be between four and six weeks.

ESPN also reporting this week that Durant would miss the All-Star Game scheduled for February 20 although Nash did not confirm that.

"We'll re-evaluate in the next week or so," Nash said at the post-game news conference. "We’ll see how his rehab goes and what the re-evaluations tell us."

Durant is currently averaging 29.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists through 36 games this season.

Harden has averaged 23.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 10.1 assists this season, but is also averaging 37 minutes per game with the absences of Durant and Kyrie Irving impacting his on-court time.

"I think we're all hopeful he'll play next game," Nash said about Harden with the Nets to play the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

"It's day to day, so we'll see. It's likely, probable and we're all very hopeful that he'll be ready to go."

Cameron Thomas top scored with 25 points against the Nuggets, while Patty Mills impressed with 21 points, three rebounds and six assists.

The defeat leaves the Nets with a 29-19 record having lost three in a row, slipping to fourth in the east.

"Details. We're proud of the guys' effort, but details, we talked about them last night," Nash said.

"Part of that, is we had some guys play together who've not played many minutes together over the last few years so there's some cohesion that is lacking and some understanding and familiarity lacking.

"That's where we have to improve especially with guys out of the lineup."

James Harden hit out at what he perceives to be a lack of consistency from the officials following the Brooklyn Nets' 136-125 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The nine-time NBA All-Star endured a frustrating time at Target Center as he got to the line only four times and scored 13 points.

Only once this season, against the Phoenix Suns in November (12), has Harden – who shot four-of-13 – ended a game with fewer points.

But Harden feels as though he has been on the end of some tough treatment from referees.

"I don't know. I don't even want to talk about it," he told reporters. "But it's definitely – when I get to the basket, it's the same calls the guys are getting. 

"Obviously, you can't call all of them. But there's ones where there's clearly stiff-arms and trips and things like that. On the other end, there's no consistency. So it's frustrating."

Asked what explanation he has had regarding certain calls going against him, Harden said: "Nothing. Honestly, nothing. 

"Like [officials say], 'I didn't see it,' or 'I didn't think it was a foul.' But it's clear. It's extremely clear. I don't want to talk about it. I just got to keep going. It's not going to stop me. 

"I'll keep on going to the basket, keep being aggressive and keep making plays for my team."

The Timberwolves were awarded 31 free throw attempts compared to 15 for the Nets, who had 29 personal fouls called against them compared to 17 for their opponents.

Nets Head coach Steve Nash echoed Harden's complaints as he also took aim at the officials.

"I think there's nights where it's fair, and even including the points of emphasis this year," Nash said. "Then there's other nights where it feels like he gets targeted a little bit. 

"It just automatically gets lumped into that point of emphasis where he is creating the foul, which is not always the case at all."

NBA officials have clamped down on offensive players who attempt to create contact and draw fouls from opponents, which Nash claims Harden has become the biggest victim of.

"I think it's been well-documented that he's a poster child," Nash said. "I think the start of the year was rough – they were really trying to correct the point of emphasis. 

"I think they overcorrected. Now we [have] come back to the middle, but tonight was one of those nights where I felt like some of the calls that should go his way didn't."

The Nets allowed 30 points in every quarter for the second time in 10 days, when losing 130-109 to Oklahoma City, as they fell behind the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.

Harden's treatment was the big talking point from the Timberwolves loss, but Kyrie Irving backed his team-mate to adapt.

"I think teams have made adjustments, the referees have made adjustments, and now we have to make adjustments," said Irving, who led the Nets with 30 points.

"He goes to the paint aggressively and we want him to continue doing that. He's going to be James. We know who James is – we know he's going to be himself.

"But the whistle can go either way night to night. And depending on the [officiating] crew we have, I think that also has an effect on it.

"We just want to start off the game with a consistent whistle. And when he's going in there and he's creating some contact, we feel like he deserves that respect."

Kyrie Irving does not feel compelled to change his stance regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, despite the Brooklyn Nets potentially being without Kevin Durant for six weeks.

The seven-time NBA All-Star has refused to be vaccinated against coronavirus and is therefore banned from playing in home games due to New York's vaccine mandate.

Irving was left off the Nets' initial roster for the 2021-22 season, but that decision was reversed last month when the 29-year-old was included as a part-time player.

He has been restricted to four road games so far and has averaged 20 points, which is down on his career average of 22.8.

The Nets could do with Irving more than ever after losing Durant to a knee injury that will keep him out for at least a month, but the point guard is staying rooted to his decision.

"That's what I think comes into a lot of this culture and basketball and sport and entertainment," he said. "You bring in teams and you bring in situations. 

"Kev's going to heal, Kev's going to be okay, and we're going to have to deal with that as his team-mates. 

"But in terms of where I am with my life outside of this, I stay rooted in my decision. And that's just what it is.

"It's not going to be swayed just because of one thing in this NBA life. That somehow it's brought to my attention as being more important than what's going on in the real world. 

"It's just not happening for me. I respect everyone else's decision. I'm not going to try to convince anyone of anything or any of that, I'm just standing rooted in what I believe in. 

"Though we're dealing with this right now with Kev, I know I'm protected by the organisation, by my team-mates, by all the doctors I've talked to. And I just stand rooted."

 

Irving was speaking after leading Brooklyn with 27 points in their 114-107 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday – his best tally since returning to action this month.

The Nets are once again denied the chance to partner star trio James Harden, Durant and Irving, but head coach Steve Nash is hopeful others can step up.

"It's a great opportunity for guys and our team to grow," he said. "We can't rely on Kevin in ways we could, and we have to find ways and solutions to be competitive without him."

The Nets' 'Big Three' have played only 16 games together, going 13-3 across that period.

"It's a great challenge for us," Nash added. "I don't spend time dwelling on it. It wouldn't do us any good. It wouldn't do me any good. 

"It wouldn't do the team any good if the leader of the team is sitting at home contemplating how many games they haven't played.

"That would take me away from being excited and positive to come in every day and try to affect the group positively for these guys to feel empowered and to grow."

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash allayed fears of a serious knee injury for 2018 MVP James Harden who was left out of the side to play the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.

Harden, who is averaging 22.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists this season, missed the game due to a left knee hyperextension.

Nash revealed Harden did not require an MRI on the knee and that the Nets were taking precaution.

"I think we're being overly cautious," Nash told reporters prior to Monday's game.

"A heavy stretch of games. Expect him to play Wednesday [against the Chicago Bulls]."

Kyrie Irving, who is only eligible for road games due to his vaccination status, will play in the game away to the Trail Blazers.

"It would be great if we didn't have to get him up to 40 [minutes] tonight," Nash said. "But at the same time, I think he's got the bulk of his preparation and his legs and is ready to play as much as needed ... you don't want to play him 44 minutes tonight, then he's got to turn around and play a big game on Wednesday.

"So we'll play him more minutes, but we would love for it to be gradual and a strategic allocation of minutes, not just like, 'All right great, we got a new Ferrari and we're going to rack up the miles.'"

Kevin Durant hopes to use the Brooklyn Nets' upcoming road games with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Chicago Bulls as a chance to "build chemistry" with Kyrie Irving.

Irving was left off the Nets' initial roster for the 2021-22 season due to electing against receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Seven-time NBA All-Star Irving is not eligible to play in home games due to New York City's vaccine mandate, but he would have been available for most road games.

The Nets reversed course last month by including the 29-year-old as a part-time player and named him in their line-up for Wednesday's win over the Indiana Pacers.

Still unable to play in home games, Irving will have a chance to get minutes under his belt when the Nets head to Portland and Chicago on Monday and Wednesday respectively.

And Durant, who scored 28 points in Sunday's 121-119 win against the San Antonio Spurs, is glad to have the chance to reignite his partnership with Irving.

"We're definitely a better team, a way better team with Irving," Durant said. "He's definitely going to give us a lift. 

"I'm looking forward to it – a couple games on the road, an opportunity for us to build our chemistry. I'm looking forward to it."

Nets coach Steve Nash has previously said he is reluctant to overuse Irving on his return to the side, but the point guard is set to feature against Portland.

"We'll see," Nash said when asked about Irving's availability. "Typically, with a game under his belt he could play a little more [Monday], so that's definitely possible."

Irving played 32 minutes against the Pacers and scored 22 points – he averaged 26.9 from across 54 games in 2020-21.

The Nets' overtime win against San Antonio, having blown the lead late in regulation, was their first at Barclays Center in six games since December 16 and moved them to 25-13 for the season.

The Eastern Conference's second-placed side are playing catch-up owing to a run of rescheduled games, meaning a long flight from Portland to Chicago and back to New York again before Thursday.

Asked about the uniqueness of the situation, Nash said: "I can't remember all the back-to-backs I ever played in but I don't remember any six-hour flights in between.

"So it's different, but we've got to take it as an opportunity, an opportunity to succeed under adversity and this moment where we're trying to find ourselves again.

"We have a tough back-to-back, so let's embrace it. Let's see if we can win both, and if we can win both, or at least play well in both, maybe that gives us a spark."

Kyrie Irving made his return to the Brooklyn Nets side for the first time in seven months but you would not know that according to head coach Steve Nash and teammate Kevin Durant.

The pair were full of praise for 29-year-old Irving who had not played all season due to his vaccination status which meant he would be unavailable for home games in New York City, with the Nets not wanting him on a part-time basis.

The franchise changed their tune a fortnight ago, permitting him for road games, amid a COVID-19 outbreak which depleted their playing stocks. Irving had returned to practice and found his fitness before he played for the first time this season in Wednesday's 129-121 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Irving was on court for 32 minutes, scoring 22 points making nine-of-17 from the field along with three rebounds, four assists and three steals. The win also halted the Nets' three-game skid.

"He looks like himself," Nash said at the post-game news conference. "Not a big surprise watching him play in practice, he's so gifted and talented, you could see the rhythm was there.

"But it's still an adaptation. We've got to give him some space as he transitions back to playing but tonight he was big."

Durant scored 39 points with eight rebounds and seven assists as the Nets improved to 24-12 to sit second in the east behind the Chicago Bulls (25-10).

"It was amazing to have him out there," Durant told reporters. "I missed his presence around the locker room, his energy and his vibe around the team.

"On top of that, his game is just so beautiful. He makes the game so much easier for everybody out there.

"I'm sure he was a bit nervous but he got comfortable. He made some athletic plays. It looked like he'd be around for a while."

Kevin Durant has slammed his Brooklyn Nets teammates for "f****d-up attitude" after suffering a shock 120-116 defeat to the under-strength Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.

The Clippers charged home in the final quarter, despite Durant's 28 points and nine rebounds, scoring 40-29 to claim the four-point win.

The defeat, with the Clippers missing star trio Kawhi Leonard (ACL), Nicolas Batum (ankle) and Paul George (elbow), left Durant furious with his side.

"We just relaxed too much," Durant said at the post-game news conference. "We get up 10 [points], miss a layup or turn the ball over, and they get a fast break, give up a three, straight-line drive - like coach [Steve Nash] said, we didn't deserve to win this game.

"We came in here with a f****d-up attitude. Thinking we were just going to walk into a W."

He added: "It's natural when a team is missing so many players. They're going through so much over there. [We] relaxed.

"You don't think you could lose an NBA game like this. They're missing how many guys? They're playing guys that are up from the G League.

"Xavier Moon came in and hit some shots for them. Keon Johnson, James Ennis - they all made an impact I felt on the game, and I think we came in too chill to start."

The Nets, who coughed up 15 turnovers, slip to a 23-11 record, while Eastern Conference contenders the Chicago Bulls (24-10) and the Milwaukee Bucks (25-13) both won on Saturday.

Nets head coach Steve Nash lamented his side's lack of "care factor", with the defeat coming two days after going down to the Philadelphia 76ers 110-102.

"I just think [conceding] 71 points in the second half is unacceptable," Nash said. "We just never really had the care factor.

"Turned it up, we had a chance up nine, 10, 11 in the third and fourth at different times and just took our foot off the gas and got what we deserved, really.

"All those guys in there, I think they know it, they're disappointed of course, but it's a disappointment for all of us - that was obviously a very winnable game that we let get away."

James Harden became the first player in Nets franchise history with back-to-back triple-doubles with 30 or more points, with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists against the Clippers.

Kevin Durant has slammed his Brooklyn Nets teammates for "f****d-up attitude" after suffering a shock 120-116 defeat to the under-strength Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.

The Clippers charged home in the final quarter, despite Durant's 28 points and nine rebounds, scoring 40-29 to claim the four-point win.

The defeat, with the Clippers missing star trio Kawhi Leonard (ACL), Nicolas Batum (ankle) and Paul George (elbow), left Durant furious with his side.

"We just relaxed too much," Durant said at the post-game news conference. "We get up 10 [points], miss a layup or turn the ball over, and they get a fast break, give up a three, straight-line drive - like coach [Steve Nash] said, we didn't deserve to win this game.

"We came in here with a f****d-up attitude. Thinking we were just going to walk into a W."

He added: "It's natural when a team is missing so many players. They're going through so much over there. [We] relaxed.

"You don't think you could lose an NBA game like this. They're missing how many guys? They're playing guys that are up from the G League.

"Xavier Moon came in and hit some shots for them. Keon Johnson, James Ennis - they all made an impact I felt on the game, and I think we came in too chill to start."

The Nets, who coughed up 15 turnovers, slip to a 23-11 record, while Eastern Conference contenders the Chicago Bulls (24-10) and the Milwaukee Bucks (25-13) both won on Saturday.

Nets head coach Steve Nash lamented his side's lack of "care factor", with the defeat coming two days after going down to the Philadelphia 76ers 110-102.

"I just think [conceding] 71 points in the second half is unacceptable," Nash said. "We just never really had the care factor.

"Turned it up, we had a chance up nine, 10, 11 in the third and fourth at different times and just took our foot off the gas and got what we deserved, really.

"All those guys in there, I think they know it, they're disappointed of course, but it's a disappointment for all of us - that was obviously a very winnable game that we let get away."

James Harden became the first player in Nets franchise history with back-to-back triple-doubles with 30 or more points, with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists against the Clippers.

Brooklyn Nets trio James Harden, Paul Millsap and Jevon Carter have cleared COVID-19 protocols ahead of their Christmas Day game against the struggling Los Angeles Lakers.

Harden entered protocols early last week, leaving the Nets depleted with Kevin Durant also among those sidelined, leading to three Brooklyn games being postponed.

Nets head coach Steve Nash revealed that Cam Thomas, Kessler Edwards and David Duke Jr had all entered protocols, totalling 13 Brooklyn players since 13 December, but added they would have enough to face the Lakers on Saturday.

"James Harden, Paul Millsap and Jevon Carter are out of protocols," Nash told reporters on Thursday. "The plan is to fly to Los Angeles tomorrow and play on Christmas.

"There were a few days we had to shut everything down out of precaution. It's started back up yesterday and today with guys back on the court in isolation.

"It's tricky, we haven't been able to do a lot. We'll continue to adapt as the rules and mandates come in."

The Nets have a 21-9 record to be top of the Eastern Conference but have not played since 18 December.

Kevin Durant felt as if the Philadelphia 76ers underestimated the Brooklyn Nets due to their COVID-19 outbreak ahead of Thursday's 114-105 victory.

The Nets had just nine players available for selection ahead of the visit of Eastern Conference rivals the 76ers.

Nets coach Steve Nash commented beforehand about being concerned with how much game time Durant was having to play, describing it as "not safe or unsustainable" – though the depleted nature of their squad did not give him much of an option but to play him.

Before Thursday's win, Durant ranked second in minutes per game (36.9) in the NBA this season, and he racked up another 39 against the 76ers.

But it was probably just as well considering he tallied a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds – no one on the court bettered him in either respect.

The win improved the Nets to 21-8 and Durant reckoned they caught the 76ers in slack form.

"We played with a great brand of basketball right from the start," he said. "I think they came in too relaxed, they've seen we've only got nine players.

"We came out, hit them early and stuck with it. In the fourth quarter we just had good energy. We fed off that in the first three quarters and then in the fourth we were able to cruise."

On his own personal performance after another gruelling outing, the 33-year-old added: "I just try to do what's required, man.

"I mean, I want to be out there. I want to play. I want to win. So, it starts there. Whatever I've got to do to accomplish those three things, I'm going to do."

"It's basketball at end of the day, it's simple, I've been doing all my life. No matter who's on the floor, opponents or team-mates, I've just got to go out and be me. I'm just grateful I'm available to play."

76ers coach Doc Rivers was not drawn on the idea his team were complacent – instead, he commented on the standard of officiating, convinced Joel Embiid was not being protected enough.

"I thought Joel got fouled the last three post possessions, and-ones, and none was called," said Rivers.

"I don't know how a team can play the fourth quarter of a game where we're driving the ball and posting the ball and they have zero fouls. It's hard to play a quarter in the NBA and commit no fouls. Very surprised by that."

Embiid added: "I mean, they're the home team. I thought we got fouled a few times, especially down there. But, I mean, it's frustrating when they're calling fouls for the other teams down there and you don't get any. I can see what he [Rivers] was talking about."

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