Brooklyn Nets famous person Kevin Durant was the discuss of the city on Friday night time in what is among the strangest and most incomprehensible tales of the NBA season to date.
Simply moments earlier than tip-off, it was reported by ESPN’s Malika Andrews that Durant wouldn’t be accessible to start out the sport vs the Raptors because of well being and security protocols. Andrews later added that he had been held out due to contact tracing.
However after receiving clearance, Durant returned to the staff bench and checked into the sport on the 4:13 mark within the first quarter. By not having began, it was the primary time in KD’s profession that he got here off the bench, ending an 866-game streak with consecutive begins. It’s an unimaginable stat however this story obtained crazier because the night time went on.
Within the third quarter, Durant was approached by both a employees member or league official and proceeded to the locker room, and he didn’t step foot on the courtroom once more. A number of reviews instructed that somebody whom Durant had come into shut proximity with somebody who had examined constructive for COVID-19, and the NBA needed to be cautious regardless of three earlier adverse assessments by the Nets ahead prior to now 24 hours.
KD took to Twitter and voice his frustration.
The Nets misplaced to the Raptors, in case anybody was questioning, and after the sport, James Harden shared his ideas on the scenario.
“I do not perceive the entire thing the place he could not play, then he got here on the courtroom, then they took him again,” Harden informed ESPN. “[Durant] feels the identical approach. Particularly with him already having it and we get examined each single day. He is been adverse. So, I do not perceive what the issue is. The sport ought to’ve been postponed, I really feel like. If we’re speaking about contact tracing. He was round all of us. So I do not perceive why he wasn’t allowed to play, then allowed to play, then taken again off the courtroom. If that was the case, we must always’ve postponed the sport.”
Durant will miss Saturday’s recreation vs the Sixers and presumably longer. However except for that entire ordeal, listed here are a number of the greatest and worst performances some Friday night time within the affiliation together with LaMelo Ball’s season-high scoring recreation and Bradley Beal’s lowest.
Nikola Vucevic – After combining for 46 factors in his earlier three video games, Vucevic hung a career-high 43 factors with 19 rebounds, 4 assists and a block vs the Bulls on Friday night time. He hit 17-of-29 area targets, 4-of-10 3-pointers and 5-of-6 free throws and fortunately, his historic effort didn’t go wasted as a result of the Magic gained the sport 123-119. And I say historic as a result of Vuc grew to become simply the third participant in franchise historical past to document 43/19 in a recreation, becoming a member of Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard in that class. That’s elite middle firm, however when you’ve paid consideration to the Magic this yr, you’re in all probability not shocked Vucevic put up such a monster stat line. He’s averaging 22.5 factors, 11.2 rebounds and three.5 assists on 48/43/84 capturing splits and ranks twelfth in 9-cat and eighth in Yahoo leagues this season. That’s fairly rattling good and it doesn’t get talked about sufficient as a result of Orlando (9-14) is having a shedding marketing campaign. In case you’re in want of depth, now is an efficient time to flip Vuc in a 2-for-1 deal.
Al Horford – I do know Al Horford’s contract is horrible (3yrs/$81 million remaining, together with this season) however at the least he’s producing for the Thunder. On Friday night time, he posted season-highs in factors and assists with 26 and eight, including seven boards, two steals and three blocks in simply 29 minutes. He knocked down 10-of-19 pictures and made three 3-pointers as properly, placing up almost 60 fantasy factors in Yahoo leagues. He’s notched double figures in scoring in eight straight video games together with three 20-point video games with a complete of twenty-two triples within the stretch. So, if he’s sitting on waivers in your league, irrespective of the dimensions, decide up him as a result of he’s constantly been placing up spectacular numbers on the age of 34.
LaMelo Ball – Probably the most proficient rookie on this yr’s draft class added to his Rookie of the 12 months campaign with a career-high 34 factors on Friday vs the Jazz. He made 14-of-27 area targets and 4 3-pointers, including 4 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a block. And guess what? No turnovers. *lets out sigh of aid* It was nice to see LaMelo handle the ball after committing 9 turnovers in his earlier two begins and extra importantly, it was simply nice to see him stay within the beginning lineup regardless of Terry Rozier coming back from an ankle harm. After the sport, James Borrego acknowledged Ball’s efficiency however wouldn’t say whether or not he’d be within the first 5 shifting ahead. However Borrego can’t ignore the truth that his prized first-year level guard has performed properly over the previous week during which he’s averaged 22.6 factors, 5.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.8 steals with 11 made 3-pointers. The choice can’t be that tough, proper?
Bobby Portis – Rostered in simply 53% of Yahoo leagues, Bobby Portis is having himself a pleasant first season with the Bucks. By 22 video games, he’s posting 11.5 factors and seven.5 rebounds in slightly below 22 minutes an evening. He’s been a top quality sixth man for Milwaukee as a backup massive man and small-ball middle, and vs the Cavs on Friday, he scored 14 factors on 50% capturing with boards, a steal and a block. It wasn’t a breakout efficiency, however Portis has tallied 14, 18, 21 and 11 over his final 4 video games on 62% capturing with eight 3-pointers. I used to be capable of seize him off waivers in a 14-team league earlier within the week and advocate giving him a glance in deep leagues, at any time when Giannis Antetokounmpo sits video games or if the Bucks have the potential to blow a staff out which ends up in additional taking part in time for Portis.
Domantas Sabonis – The Pacers ahead had gone 27-of-40 from the ground with 65 factors and 25 rebounds in a back-to-back on Tuesday on Wednesday. On Friday, nevertheless, he was dreadful, managing simply eight factors and 6 boards on 3-of-13 capturing. It was his second-worst capturing efficiency of the yr as he struggled towards the like of Steven Adams and Zion Williamson whose people strengths outmatch that of Sabonis. However fantasy managers who’ve Sabonis needn’t be apprehensive. He’s been a double-double machine and a top-60 participant in 9-cat until this level.
Bradley Beal – Friday night time marked not solely the primary time this season that Beal failed to attain at the least 10 factors, nevertheless it was additionally the primary time in 18 video games that he’s scored lower than 26 factors. The NBA’s main bucket-getter tallied a season-low seven factors on a hideous 1-of-14 exhibiting, including three rebounds, three assists and three steals within the blowout loss to the Warmth. He went 0-of-12 within the first half and per ESPN Stats and Information, that’s tied for essentially the most makes an attempt in a half with no make within the final 25 seasons. O.J. Mayo went 0-12 within the second half of a recreation in 2008. The forgettable efficiency by Beal additionally snapped a streak of 17 consecutive video games with at the least 25 factors to start out a season, a document that put him in the identical class as Michael Jordan. The Wizards star will look to bounce again on Sunday vs the Hornets, and regardless of The Athletic’s report that he doesn’t need out of D.C., it’s nonetheless #freeBradleyBeal.
Mikal Bridges – The third-year wing out of Villanova tied a season-low scoring output with simply six factors on Friday vs Pistons. He shot of 2-of-5 from the ground and didn’t register and 3-pointers for the third straight recreation. His two made targets had been the second-lowest of the season, however he salvaged his fantasy night time with 9 rebounds, 4 assists and two blocks. Since Sunday, he has simply 24 factors and is 0-14 from past the arc, simply his worst stretch of the season and one which hopefully for him and his fantasy managers, doesn’t final lengthy. Bridges is a robust candidate for Most Improved Participant, having upped his factors, rebounds, assists and extra since final yr. And if you considered dropping him, don’t, as a result of as quickly as you do, you realize he’s going to interrupt out of this hunch. That’s simply the way it works.