NBA

Nets' Durant sidelined for at least two games with hamstring injury

By Sports Desk February 15, 2021

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant will miss at least two games due to a mild left hamstring strain.

The Nets confirmed the injury on Sunday, a day after Durant returned from the NBA's health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic to help Brooklyn past the Golden State Warriors 134-117.

Durant, who posted 20 points against former team the Warriors in his first game back in the Bay Area, will sit out Monday's clash with the Sacramento Kings and Tuesday's game against the Phoenix Suns.

Former NBA MVP and two-time champion Durant is averaging 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game for the Nets this season.

Durant, who sat out his first season in Brooklyn due to an Achilles injury sustained in the 2019 NBA Finals during his time with the Warriors, has missed nine of 28 games in 2020-21.

The star-studded Nets (16-12) are third in the Eastern Conference following back-to-back wins.

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    Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said the Eastern Conference Finals will be an old-school defensive slugfest, and that he feels the best two teams made it.

    The Heat needed six games to triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Boston Celtics came back from 3-2 down against the Milwaukee Bucks to get the job done in Game 7.

    As a reward for getting their series out of the way early, the Heat will have five days of rest before Tuesday's Game 1, while the Celtics have just one proper rest day between series.

    Speaking to the media after Monday's practice, Spoelstra said it is shaping up as a series that will warm the heart of Heat president Pat Riley.

    "Pat's [Riley] probably is going to enjoy this," he said. "This is like a throwback series. 

    "If both teams are really on top of their games, this should be a series where neither team is scoring 130 points. Both teams hang their hats on rock-solid team defense, and making multiple efforts and being disciplined to schemes. 

    "So it will be a lot of plays and things in the margins… really, we were the two best teams in the East most of the season and it's fitting that we're moving into the conference finals.

    "Boston has played as well as anyone in the entire league once they got to 2022. It's not by accident. They're playing very strong basketball. They do it on both ends."

    Heat star Jimmy Butler was asked about his potential matchup against Jayson Tatum, and he had nothing but praise for the Celtics' best player.

    "He's one of the best in the game right now," he said. "As much attention as he draws on the offensive end – and then I think what's really impressive is the way that he's picked up his defensive intensity. 

    "You got to tip your hat to that and respect him, I think those are the guys that you want to go up against."

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