Nets' Kevin Durant on Heavy Usage: 'I Might Play 48 Tomorrow, Just Cuz'

Erin WalshDecember 8, 2021

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 7: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets goes up for a slam dunk against the Dallas Mavericks in the first half at American Airlines Center on November 7, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
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Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant doesn't seem to mind that head coach Steve Nash is playing him more heavily this year.

After logging 41 minutes in Tuesday's 102-99 win over the Dallas Mavericks, Durant was asked about his heavy usage and whether he would play in Wednesday's game against the Houston Rockets.

He told reporters: "I might play 48 tomorrow, just cuz. Give you something to talk about."

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"I might play 48 tomorrow, just 'cause. Give you something to talk about"<br><br>Kevin Durant talks about logging heavy minutes, and if he'll play in tomorrow's back-to-back vs. Houston <a href="https://t.co/eH3Bf8BqWs">pic.twitter.com/eH3Bf8BqWs</a>

Durant finished Tuesday's game against Dallas with 24 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block.

Entering Tuesday's contest, Durant had been averaging 36 minutes per game, which is the highest he's averaged since he played 38.5 minutes per night during the 2013-14 season as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The 33-year-old is also in the midst of one of his best seasons since then as a result, averaging 28.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor and 38.2 percent from three entering Tuesday.

It's worth mentioning that Durant is likely carrying a heavy workload because Kyrie Irving cannot practice or play with the Nets until he complies with New York City's COVID-19 vaccination mandate. In addition, the Nets are down Joe Harris, who recently underwent left ankle surgery.

Being down two good players isn't ideal for the Nets, but they've certainly found a groove as of late, having won seven of their last nine games, including Tuesday's victory.

The topic of Durant's usage has become more prevalent given it's his second season back from an Achilles injury that caused him to miss the entire 2019-20 season. However, the four-time scoring champion told reporters Saturday that he's not concerned about re-injuring himself and wants to play as much as possible:

"I'm a basketball player. I want to play 48 minutes. That's just what it is. It's a conversation to have [by fans and media]—I'm playing more minutes and I'm coming off an injury and all this other stuff. But I like to play, and if I can convince coach to play me the whole second half sometimes, I'm going to do it. My basketball life is not that long, so I'm going to get the most out of it ... I like being out there."

In addition to Durant, James Harden has also played a significant amount of time this season. He played 42 minutes in Tuesday's win over the Mavs and entered averaging 35.7 minutes per game. However, Harden is used to playing heavy minutes, having averaged at least 35 minutes per night since the 2012-13 campaign.

Brooklyn improved to 17-7 with Tuesday's win over Dallas and is now atop the Eastern Conference standings. As long as Durant and Harden aren't fatigued and they want to play, there's no reason to hold them off the court as things in the East begin to heat up.