Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant said he's not concerned about the outside perception of the team's 138-112 blowout road win over the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
Durant discussed the meaning of the victory in his postgame press conference:
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Kevin Durant doesn't view tonight as a statement to the rest of the league:<br><br>"Not trying to make no statements to the league. Who cares what they think? We know what we bring to the table and it's all about us. I'm sure people were watching that game tonight." <a href="https://t.co/oVD0adWZ71">pic.twitter.com/oVD0adWZ71</a>
The 11-time All-Star led the way for Brooklyn with a game-high 27 points. James Harden added 25 points and 16 assists, while Kyrie Irving played through an ankle injury to tally nine points, four rebounds and three dimes.
It was a glimpse into what the Nets are capable of when they're firing on all cylinders, though they remain without some secondary contributors, including Joe Harris and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Harden admitted there have been "a lot of ups and downs" since he joined Durant and Irving in a trade last January, but he told reporters Wednesday was an example of the group's potential:
"We're that good. We got a chance to be that good. We just haven't had enough of it. I think last year we probably had 15 games maybe together, a little more, a little less. And this year only two. We haven't had a real bulk of a season—y'all can consistently see how great we can be. And we're working on that. We need to get to that point."
Nets head coach Steve Nash added he's hopeful the result gives his squad a boost moving forward:
"These games can definitely give a team confidence. Give 'em mojo and something to build on, but it can also not. So it's in the bank. We've shown that we can perform this way, we've shown the type of spirit and energy we can bring to the game, the purpose. Now we got to build on it. ... We raised our level. We competed. We rose to the occasion, and now we move forward and hopefully it is a moment in time that helps us get to another level."
It was an impressive showing, as Brooklyn shot 56.3 percent from the field, knocked down 17 threes, won the rebounding battle (41-35) and dished out 35 assists while turning the ball over just nine times. It was one of the team's most complete games of the 2021-22 campaign.
The Nets return home for their next two games, which means Irving will be ineligible to play because of New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large-scale events, but that's followed by a four-game road trip and a five-game road swing a short time later.
Those extended stints on the road should benefit Brooklyn as they look to build consistency with Irving in the lineup. He missed most of the season's first half before the front office reversed its decision to keep him sidelined until he could be a full-time player.
From a pure talent perspective, there are few teams in the league that match up favorably with the Nets, so Wednesday's takedown of the red-hot Bulls was a statement to the rest of the NBA, even if that wasn't the intent of Durant and Co.