NBA

Nets star Durant enters COVID-19 protocols

By Sports Desk December 18, 2021

Kevin Durant is the latest Brooklyn Nets star to enter the NBA's coronavirus protocols.

Durant was already ruled out of Saturday's game against the Orlando Magic due to an ankle injury.

The Nets revealed the 11-time All-Star would not have been able to play in that match even without that issue, however, after he joined a lengthy list of absentees who have entered the health and safety protocols.

That list is now up to nine, one of which is point guard Kyrie Irving.

Brooklyn earlier stated that Irving will re-join the NBA championship-chasing franchise for road games outside of New York and Toronto.

Irving is yet to play for the Eastern Conference-leading Nets this season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which has prevented him from practising or playing with the team – New York has a mandate in place that states players must have had a COVID-19 jab.

At the start of the season, the Nets announced they would not accept Irving playing on a part-time basis and thus overlooked him for selection until he is vaccinated.

But due to injuries and a COVID-19 outbreak, which has sidelined superstar and former MVP James Harden, Brooklyn have opted to bring Irving back.

Related items

  • Darvin Ham selected as new Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham selected as new Los Angeles Lakers head coach

    The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham as their new head coach after he was brought in for a formal interview for the position on Thursday.

    Ham, who will become a head coach in the NBA for the first time, was chosen ahead of former NBA head coaches Terry Stotts – who spent nine season in charge of the Portland Trail Blazers – and Kenny Atkinson, who oversaw the rebuild of the Brooklyn Nets before the arrival of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

    Before becoming a coach, Ham played 417 games across eight seasons in his NBA career, and earned his first assistant role in the league with the Lakers back in 2011.

    After two seasons with the Lakers, Ham moved on to the Atlanta Hawks, where alongside head coach Mike Budenholzer he helped them become the top seed in the Eastern Conference in 2014-15, despite their top-scorer being Paul Millsap at 16.7 points per game.

    When Budenholzer was fired in 2017 and took the head role with the Bucks, Ham followed, and was a key member in the staff that won the 2021 NBA Championship.

    Long-considered a head-coach-in-waiting, Ham was viewed as a front-runner for the vacancies with the Washington Wizards and the Sacramento Kings before ultimately being passed on, leaving him as the man tasked with mounting another championship run while LeBron James remains near the top of his game.

    James tweeted his excitement about the hiring, saying: "So damn EXCITED!!!!!!!! Congrats and welcome coach DHam!!"

    Ham will also be only the third African American coach to enter an NBA season as head coach of the Lakers, after Mike Brown did so in 2011-12 – getting fired after five games – and Byron Scott in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

  • Doncic admits 'I played terrible' but proud of Mavs' season Doncic admits 'I played terrible' but proud of Mavs' season

    Luka Doncic said he "played terrible" but expressed his pride at the Dallas Mavericks' season on the whole after they were eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Golden State Warriors.

    The Warriors booked their berth in the NBA Finals with a 120-110 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday – Klay Thompson contributing a game-high 32 points.

    Doncic had 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but it was far from a vintage performance from the Mavs' talisman.

    He was only 10-of-28 shooting from the floor, including making just three-of-13 three-pointers, while in the first half alone he was just two-of-12 and had three turnovers.

    "I don't like losing, especially like this. I played terrible," Doncic said.

    Despite his struggles on the night, it marked the 10th time during this season's playoffs that Doncic had topped the stats sheets in points, rebounds and assists for the Mavs. That marked a new record for the most during a single postseason, with LeBron James holding the previous benchmark in 2013.

    "If we talk about our season, I'm really proud of this team. Everybody, every player, every staff member," said Doncic, who averaged 31.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists in the playoffs.

    "Nobody had us here. But I promise we fought until the end. Congratulations to the Warriors. They were obviously the better team. But I'm really proud of this team."

    Asked what the Mavs need to do to progress to becoming a championship team, Doncic was unequivocal in his reply.

    "I think defense has got to be way better for me," he said. 

    "Honestly, I think I made a huge step this year defensively, but there's so much room for improvement. I've got to be way better there.

    "I think that's one spot that can take us to the next level."

  • 'Steph's incredible' – Kerr full of praise after Warriors win Western Conference Finals, Curry claims MVP 'Steph's incredible' – Kerr full of praise after Warriors win Western Conference Finals, Curry claims MVP

    Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr lauded an "incredible" Stephen Curry after his side progressed to a sixth NBA Finals appearance since 2015 on Thursday.

    Curry claimed the first Western Conference Finals MVP award as the Dubs defeated the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5, claiming a 4-1 series win.

    The former unanimous MVP suffered an early injury scare, tweaking his right ankle in an attempt to trap Dorian Finney-Smith in the first quarter. After sitting out the early exchanges of the second quarter, Curry finished with 15 points on a relatively poor five-of-17 shooting for his standards, along with nine assists and two steals.

    According to Kerr however, the 34-year-old's stamina and mere presence gets the Warriors going, while his effort on the defensive side of the ball deserves respect.

    "He's our engine, offensively. Everything revolves around him," Kerr said after the win. "We've got a lot fo great players around him and guys who fit well together but it all starts with Steph.

    "He just creates so much havoc for the defence that even on a night like tonight where he doesn't shoot the ball that well, he forces rotations and he frees up other players. His defence all year has been totally underrated.

    "He's as strong as he's ever been. Conditioning-wise, just to play 35 minutes tonight, fighting over screen after screen after screen and then at the other end, be on the ball and get people open. Steph's incredible."

    The Warriors moved to a 21-2 playoff series record under Kerr's tenure with the win over the Mavericks, after missing the playoffs in the previous two seasons.

    After seeing through the long-term injuries to Curry and Klay Thompson over that two-year hiatus, Kerr believes his team started to find rhythm at the end of last term, ending with a 15-5 record over the final 20 games of the regular season.

    "These last couple of years have been difficult with the injuries – worst record in the league two years ago," Kerr said post-game. "Last year it felt like we spent the year trying to get back on track and I think we did at the end of the season.

    "It's pretty amazing. It's so difficult to get to the finals. An NBA season is such a marathon, to get through the 82 [regular-season games], then three rounds of the playoffs, beating the best teams in the league to get there, frankly, it's exhausting.

    "For our team, our guys, especially the core group…to be part of that six times in eight years, I don't even know what to say. It just takes an enormous amount of skill and determination and work and I couldn't be prouder of our guys."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.