Nets superstar Kevin Durant had, by his standards, a below-average performance in Game 1 of Brooklyn’s playoff series against the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
But it is difficult to find anyone who believes Durant will replicate that 23-point outing (9-for-24 from the field) Wednesday night when Brooklyn enters TD Garden facing a 1-0 series deficit. Those on the opposite bench, including Celtics forward Grant Williams, certainly aren’t counting on another one of those performances from arguably the NBA’s best scorer.
“He’s gonna be aggressive. We all know Kevin Durant,” Williams said during a video conference leading up to Game 2. “We all know the fact that after losses he was, what 40-plus points a game when they play? So we know he’s gonna come out being aggressive in Game Two.”
During his short tenure in Brooklyn, Durant has averaged 39.3 points per game (118 points in three contests) after a playoff loss. That’s obviously an extremely small sample size. What’s not a small sample size, though, is that Durant has averaged 30.6 points in 45 career contests after a playoff loss. Thirty-three of those games came with the Oklahoma City Thunder (29.3 points after a playoff loss) and nine in Golden State (32.1 points after a loss).
DraftKings Sportsbook has Durant’s point prop set at over/under 30.5 entering Game 2, a wager that may entice some bettors looking forward to the storyline-filled contest. The Celtics remain a 3.5-point favorite to take a 2-0 series advantage.
“… All I know is that we did a good job, but it’s not gonna be like that every game, every series. He’s not a guy that necessarily has droughts like that or cold streaks,” Williams said of Durant. “So we understand that he still had what 20-plus points anyway? So we can’t expect them to go 9-for-25 every game. So it’s one of those things that Kyrie (Irving) had a phenomenal game, KD had a good game, but not KD. We know how KD is. So we understand that we have to be better. There’s a lot of room for improvement. And as a team, we understand that it’s not over.”
Celtics-Nets is set to tip off at 7 p.m. ET.