January 12, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, United States; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) dribbles the ball against the Chicago Bulls in the second half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
The Brooklyn Nets couldn’t survive a fourth game in five nights in their third different time zone without Kevin Durant and continued their recent home slump on Thursday with a blistering loss.
Durant is expected to return from rest and the Nets are looking to avoid dropping below .500 at home on Saturday night when they host the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Nets will return to the floor after a grueling streak that saw them earn a home overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs in a noon game on Sunday, fly to Portland for the second straight night and play late game at Chicago Wednesday. After their blowout win over Chicago, the Nets returned to New York early Thursday morning and started their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder an hour later than normal.
The overtime didn’t help as the Nets trailed for the final 43-plus minutes in a 130-109 loss to the Thunder. Brooklyn trailed 12 points after the first quarter and allowed 70 points at halftime. He continued a recent home skid and the Nets fell to an 11-11 home pedestrian while losing for the sixth time in their last seven home games since Dec. 18.
“Part of us is happy to be done with this week,” Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said. “Traveling across the country and playing four out of five nights. Time zones and late matches. First games and all that, I kinda felt for our guys trying to get some juice tonight.
“We didn’t play well. It’s definitely a part of it and these guys played really well. It was hard. You can just tell it was a tough request for our guys with all the travel and the game. “
Durant enters with a 12-game streak of at least 25 points that tied the franchise record he set last season. He scored 27 goals in 30:02 on Wednesday in his third fewer minutes of the season and scored at least 25 goals in 29 of the 35 games he appeared in.
New Orleans is 8-5 in its last 13 games and has scored at least 110 points in nine of those games, including Thursday’s 113-89 win over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.
Brandon Ingram has scored 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting and is averaging 27.8 points in his last four games after a three-game streak where he shot 8-of-39 (20.5%) and missed two games with left Achilles pain. .
“BI (Ingram) plays at an extremely high level; he can pick his spots,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “The beauty of what he does is he trusts his teammates, and when you do that the sky is the limit of what you can do offensively.”
Jonas Valanciunas has also been playing well lately for the Pelicans. He had 18 points and 16 rebounds on Thursday and had a double-double in five of his last seven games and 29 overall.
The Pelicans are trying to stop a six-game skid against the Nets, who have scored at least 120 points in five of those games. Brooklyn secured a 120-112 victory at New Orleans on Nov. 12 when James Harden scored 39 and Ingram sat out with a bruised hip.
– Media at field level