Nets' Kevin Durant 'Thinking Too Much' vs. Celtics, Won't Blame Fatigue for Struggles

Erin WalshApril 24, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23:  Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on against the Boston Celtics during Game Three of the Eastern Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on April 23, 2022 in New York City.  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 Al Bello/Getty Images).
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The Brooklyn Nets are on the verge of elimination following a 109-103 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series on Saturday at Barclays Center, and Kevin Durant's and Kyrie Irving's struggles are a big reason why the team is down 3-0. 

However, Durant wouldn't place the blame for his issues on fatigue, telling reporters he's "not winded" and that his "body doesn't hurt." He added that he has just been overthinking everything. 

"The first two games I was trying to be too aggressive. And watching film, a lot of my teammates were open," Durant said, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. "My approach to this game was to play off everyone. Get into the flow of the offense and let the ball find me.

"Iโ€™ve just been thinking too much this whole series, to be honest."

Durant finished Saturday's game with just 16 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and one steal in 46 minutes. He has looked far from the superstar who averaged 29.9 points during the regular season.

The 33-year-old averaged more than 37 minutes per game during the regular season and has played more than 40 minutes in each of Brooklyn's three postseason games against the Celtics.

Durant scored 23 points in Game 1 against Boston and 27 points in Game 2, but he hasn't been able to take over games like many thought he would this postseason. And while Durant wouldn't blame his struggles on fatigue, head coach Steve Nash implied in his postgame comments that both of his star players were feeling winded. 

"They've both got to be tired," Nash said. "Kyrie's fasting, and Kevin's had to play 40-plus minutes for five to six weeks after missing six to seven weeks."

Meanwhile, Blake Griffin blamed the team's struggles on a lack of spirit.

โ€œI donโ€™t know if our spirit was right tonight," Griffin told reporters after the game. "... Obviously, nobody's even remotely happy or content. We're all frustrated."

No team in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 series deficit, but if Durant and Irving can figure how to beat this Celtics defense, the Nets could be the first to accomplish the feat. And luckily for Brooklyn, Ben Simmons is on pace to make his Nets debut Monday during Game 4. Having him in the lineup will be a nice boost following James Harden's departure to the Philadelphia 76ers.