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This was a nice reminder that, for all the good feeling you can ascribe to a super-duper-star (an old Reggie Jackson term) in the abstract, it is always something else to see that force rise fully to power. Nets fans have spent so long acclimating themselves to the reality of Kevin Durant that it was hard to full comprehend the reality of Cheap Kevin Durant Jersey.

Not fully.

Not completely.

Until you see it with your eyes. Until you watched a seven-minute stretch of third quarter on a Christmas Day when the Nets, thanks to Durant, converted what seemed destined to be their first genuine challenge of the season into something else, something epic, something every instinct screams you should take with a grain of salt until you just throw the salt shaker out the window.

This became Nets 123, Celtics 95, but it started out as a 54-51 halftime lead for Boston after 24 hard-fought and entertaining minutes. The Celtics certainly seemed to enjoy themselves in the first half, a week after the Nets eviscerated them in preseason. These are a couple of teams that could well meet up six months from now somewhere in the playoffs. Not bad for the second day of the season. The teams were even. The game was too.

With 11:12 left in the third, Boston’s Marcus Smart drilled a 3-pointer to restore the Celtics’ three-point lead, 59-56. Durant answered with a 15-footer.

Even in the moment, it felt like a lead guitarist finishing off a sound check. Durant had been fine in the first half. But he looked different now. Smart made another jumper and then Durant did too. Nets within one. Durant heating up. The Nets bench seemed to understand something was brewing. Player like this, anything can happen. And it can happen at any time.

Daniel Theis missed a 3. Durant made a short jumper. Now the Nets had the lead. Jaylen Brown answered, but Durant simply floated up a 26-foot 3. Then he found Cheap DeAndre Jordan Jersey for an alley-oop bucket ahead of the field. If there were people inside TD Bank Garden you would have heard an uncomfortable buzz. It happens that way when the best player on the floor is on the other team.

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant
NBAE via Getty Images
It was endless. It was relentless. Two more free throws. A driving dunk. Soon enough, Cheap Kyrie Irving Jersey would join the fun, too, and soon enough the Celtics would simply give up the ghost. The dunk made it 80-70, Nets. The competitive portion of this game was already over.

Durant’s night wasn’t over. But his statement was. He might have yelled that he was back on opening night. This was something else. This was definitive. This was defiant. This was Durant. He’s on the Nets now. The Nets are going to have the best player on the floor most nights they play. That’s a hell of a thing.

“It’s still impressive to watch after all these years,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “His length, his skill, his ability, his mobility, he’s still capable to go on runs like that. … He just took over at times.”

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It’s true, actually. Here’s what KD had to say about that: “The ball came back into my hands and I tried to be aggressive, going downhill. It felt like I was waiting for more opportunities in the second half and I just knocked some down.”

Sometimes, it’s worth remembering that Nash, too, played the game at a .01 percentile level of excellence, too, and yet even he is often to observe his star thusly: “For mere mortals in this game it’s impossible to think about. It’s nothing in his mind.”

Durant finished with 29 points and he was +31 for his 33 minutes on the floor, and if you watched that felt like an impossibly low number. Irving added 37 points and eight assists, and was also +31, and if the Celtics really are the upper-echelon Eastern Conference team they’ve been the past few years …

OK. It’s early. The Celtics were missing Kemba Walker. There’s months to go. Nobody can say anything definitive about the Nets yet. But they sure can when it comes to Durant. For a year and a half we knew it was a terrific thing for the Nets that he was on their side. Then you actually see what their side looks like when he steps onto the floor.

If nothing else, that makes for a very Merry Christmas.

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After measuring stick loss to Brooklyn that revealed just how far Boston is behind the veteran-laden Nets, Jaylen Brown preached patience. “It’s a journey. I know sometimes the media and the fans lose sight of that, but it’s definitely a journey. It’s ups and downs. It’s about the marathon, not the sprint,” Brown said after leading the team in scoring with 27 points and 3 assists.

For Brown, that mindset is representative of his own personal journey. Even though he was the third pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, he was widely considered raw and a bit of a reach for Danny Ainge with more NBA-ready players like Buddy Hield or higher ceiling prospects like Dragan Bender. In four seasons, he transformed to an athletic freak to a more polished almost All-Star. He’s navigated a demotion from starter to second unit and confrontations with current and former teammates that have only steeled him as his four-year, $115 million contract extension kicks in. And now this year, he’s translating his leadership skills off the floor to being a franchise cornerstone on the parquet.

“I’m embracing the new challenge of a new role and opportunity, just trying to get better each and every year,” Brown said about being one of the major focal points of the Celtics’ offense.

In the first two games against two high quality conference opponents, Brown is averaging 30 points per game on 49% shooting, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. He’s putting up a whopping 24.5 shots per game; last year, he averaged 15.6 FGA’s, up from 10.7 and 11.5 in 2019 and 2018 respectively. Without Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker (until at least mid-January), Brown has looked the part of NBA superstar.

One of the knocks on Brown’s game coming into the season was his handle. He still isn’t a shifty off the bounce, but he’s developed enough of a dribble so that if he can get his defender on his hip, he can change pace and probe defenses. So far, Brad Stevens has used him in similar sets that Hayward utilized to get him in the middle of the floor in decision-making positions.

Against Milwaukee and Brooklyn, Brown faced two very different defenses and found ways to be effective against both. The Bucks play drop coverage on pick-and-rolls with their big retreating deep into the paint to protect the restricted area. That opens up space for ball handlers around the free throw line.

Decisions like dumping it down to Tristan Thompson on the short roll after drawing Cheap Brook Lopez Jersey attention aren’t spectacular. However, Brown has to master the simple if he’s going to lift his game and more importantly, the supporting cast around him.

The Nets, on the other hand, switch most perimeter action. That can stymie ball and player movement and puts more of an onus for teams to take advantage of smaller cracks in the defense and tighter shooting windows.

Again, these are spots in the game that Hayward used to excel in. Unlike Lopez in the previous clip, Cheap DeAndre Jordan Jersey switches on to Brown after Tristan Thompson picks off former teammate Cheap Kyrie Irving Jersey . As soon as Brown has a foot in the paint, he draws four defenders and calmly hits Marcus Smart cross court in his shooting pocket for the corner 3. If teams are going to collapse on him, Brown has to make those higher level of difficulty passes and so far, he has.

To wit, last season, Brown made 190 passes to teammates for three-point attempts (3.3 per game). To start the year, he’s already generated eleven. After a year where he averaged only 2.1 assists per game, he’s racked up seven. Understandably, it’s only two games, but Brown already recognizes and embraces the alpha role.

“My usage rate is higher, the ball is in my hands with a lot more responsibility. The difference is obvious,” Brown said.

Brown’s usage rate has ballooned from 24.5% in 2019-2020 to 34.1% and it’s hard to ignore the early returns and how it has affected his shot chart. This will certainly look different after seventy more games, but there are some trends forming. When the team was healthy last year, Brown feasted on being the third and sometimes fourth option. Out of the Five Best lineup, he had by far the highest percentage of buckets assisted at 60%.

One glaring difference was baseline threes. Those corner shots are usually generated by penetration and kick outs and with more talent on the court, Brown was a key beneficiary. He’s tried one in 68 minutes to date.

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To hammer home that point even further, with nearly nine more shots per game, Brown’s total three-point attempts per game have stagnated at 6. The burden of operating as a facilitator has eliminated the easier looks. We’re not talking about the influence of a great shooter’s gravity or big man that can set bone-crushing screens. Brown is now one of the engines of this team and he knows it.

Brown’s biggest transformation may be as team leader. It’s a bit of a sports cliche, but going forward, Brown will be charged with making his teammates better and eventually, winning and hanging Banner 18. “Guys are gonna get more comfortable in certain roles,” the 24-year-old said after the blowout loss to the Nets at TD Garden. “We got a team with a lot of fight, so I’m looking forward to the next few games and building with this group that we have.” If the Celtics take his lead, they’ll be in good hands.

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As a late February Brooklyn Nets practice wrapped up and players began to leave the floor, Kevin Durant hopped off a training table, grabbed a basketball and made his way toward a hoop.

With every shot he drained, any timidity to his steps faded and a familiar assurance took over. Eight months removed from rupturing his Achilles tendon, he wasn’t quite ready to be back — at least not yet.

Durant kept to his rehabilitation routine, oftentimes in a gray beanie, going from his scooter to walking, from walking to running, from running to jumping and from jumping to cutting with a ball in his hands. One of the greatest scorers in NBA history was building himself back up from the very basics.

“If I’d played last year, I would have probably been overwhelmed with just a quick change, switching teams and being in a different environment,” Durant told reporters last week. “But I think having a year under my belt definitely helped me coming into this camp because I know the training staff, the coaches and my teammates pretty well now.”

The only time Durant spoke to the media during the season was in the days after Kobe Bryant died. Durant’s teammate Cheap Kyrie Irving Jersey considered Bryant a close friend and a mentor. Following a film session two days after Bryant’s death, the Nets’ public relations staff asked Irving to talk to reporters, but he declined. Instead, Durant said that he would do it, allowing Irving to continue to mourn away from cameras.

NBA legend Steve Nash, the current coach of the Brooklyn Nets, has just closed on a Cobble Hill townhouse.

Nash, who is also a filmmaker and heads the Steve Nash Foundation to help underserved kids, paid $4.99 million for the gorgeous, 20-foot-wide brick townhouse — down from its original $6.49 million asking price in 2019.

“He was looking for more space for his family,” a source said.

Nash, who is known for his love of pick-up soccer games, also loves the chill neighborhood, the source added.

The five-bedroom, 4½-bathroom home, on Amity Street, is 4,200 square feet. Gut renovated, it’s decked out in clean earth tones and anchored by a custom curved, plaster staircase.

The townhouse stoop leads into a parlor floor with an open living, dining and chef’s kitchen. The formal living room features a marble fireplace mantle.

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The 4,200-square-foot home has five bedrooms and is anchored by a custom curved, plaster staircase.
Zoe Wetherall

Details throughout the home include wide-plank white oak floors, exposed white brick, custom built-ins and modern steel casement doors and windows that open up the landscaped garden and parlor areas.

There’s also a full-floor main bedroom suite, a finished cellar for a playroom or home gym and a roof deck with skyline, sunset and water views.

The listing brokers, Ravi Kantha and Matthew Lesser, of Leslie J. Garfield, declined to comment, as did the Nets.

Otherwise, Durant was a shadowy figure in the background of the Nets’ season, yet his presence loomed. He arrived at most games in Barclays Center less than an hour before tipoff and would walk onto the floor in a sport coat with his team. He was part observer, part coach.

Right before the starting lineups were introduced at those games, Brooklyn’s video-screen hype montage concluded by cycling through each player on the roster in rapid succession, from Cheap Jarrett Allen Jersey to Cheap Joe Harris Jersey to Irving. The final image: a piercing close-up of Durant staring from the screen down onto the court. He has been eyeing this comeback for more than 550 days.

Now he’s back. This is his team to lead with Irving, his friend and co-star. Cheap Kevin Durant Jersey is no longer the mysterious figure hanging over the Nets’ franchise. He’s at the very center of their future, and that’s where the new questions arise. — Malika Andrews