The last few hours have been scary for the Brooklyn Nets, and not in the way that James Harden intended it to be.
Against the Toronto Raptors, the NBA’s health and safety protocols forced Kevin Durant to miss the start of the game and come off the bench for the first time in his career. KD was cleared to play, but then he wasn’t, and was later pulled out of the game—adding yet another loop to a monstrous rollercoaster of a season for the Nets.
The Nets have three superstars in KD, Harden, and Kyrie Irving, but they haven’t been on the court together long enough to shake the league. When they’re all present, the Nets play creative and passionate basketball ala Basquiat, but when one or two are out, it’s your 4-year-old niece’s doodle.
This makes their next game against the Indiana Pacers (9:00 AM on NBA TV Philippines) an important one to win, a litmus test for Brooklyn in beating the odds.
The Pacers, meanwhile, have been in their own slump, losing three in a row despite having two All-Stars in the making in Domantas Sabonis (21 ppg, 12 rpg, and 6 apg) and Malcolm Brogdon (22 ppg and 7 apg). Myles Turner has also been laser-focused on defense with a league-leading four blocks per game.
Indiana is still missing the bucket-getting services of ex-Net Caris LeVert (recovering from kidney surgery) and TJ Warren, so it would be a big challenge for the Pacers (12-12) to see how they stack up against an elite East team like Brooklyn (14-12).
Both teams are frustrated and on a three-game losing streak and both are still in search of a firm identity. This could result to an exciting game or at the very least, a couple of scary hours for the rim.