Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant will return Wednesday night to take on the visiting New Orleans Pelicans, according to the team’s official Twitter account.
Durant has missed the last 23 games with a left hamstring injury and hasn’t played since February 13. He also missed all three of the team’s games just before that one appearance.
The Brooklyn star’s return is quite timely, considering his colleague James Harden is set to miss at least 10 days, also with a sustained hamstring issue on Monday.
Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said the hamstring tests were “clean,” but the Nets “are erring on the side of caution” by restraining Harden as long as he feels discomfort.
Durant averages 29 points per game, as well as 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in just 19 games during his first season as an active player for Brooklyn. He missed the entire 2019-20 season with a ruptured right Achilles tendon.
The trio of Kyrie Irving, Harden and Durant have only played seven games together, but the Nets still lead the Eastern Conference with a 35-16 record (now alongside the Philadelphia 76ers after their victory on Tuesday night) .
Irving scored 40 points on Monday to help Brooklyn overcome a 14-point deficit in their win over New York. The victory was the Nets’ eighth in a row at home.
Jeff Green tied his season record with 23 points, making 9 of 13 free throws – two of which provided the winning points with 3.7 seconds left.
Joe Harris scored 16 points and Alize Johnson had 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
“It was a total team effort,” Irving said. “A lot of guys stepped up, especially our bench. They came and made a difference, and when we took the guys out, we need that more than ever.”
Zion Williamson came back from a three-game absence with a strained right thumb and had 34 points on 12 of 18 shots in the Pelicans’ 123-107 loss to Atlanta on Tuesday. He has scored at least 20 points in 25 consecutive games.
Lonzo Ball came in his second game after a seven-game absence and Steven Adams came back from a one-game absence in a 122-115 win in Houston on Sunday.
But Brandon Ingram has missed the last four games with a toe injury, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who averaged 18.9 points starting in Ball’s place, is out for at least two weeks. due to an ankle injury against the Rockets.
Kira Lewis Jr. has missed the last two games with a calf injury and Josh Hart will miss at least three weeks after undergoing thumb surgery. New Orleans added some help by signing guard Isaiah Thomas, who made his debut against the Hawks. He had 10 points (on 4 out of 13 shots) in 25 minutes in his first NBA game since February 3, 2020.
“I thought he was playing well, certainly as good as you would expect for someone who hasn’t played in a year,” said Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy.
Atlanta set the record for most 3-pointers in a quarter without missing out on falling 11 attempts in the third quarter. The Hawks finished 20 of 31 for the game, while the Pelicans sank 12 of 38 shots from 3-point range.
“Watch the 3-point shot from both teams,” Van Gundy said. “There is the game right there.”
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