No matter what Kevin Durant wants, the Nets know it’s not perfect to put this many minutes or this much responsibility on their star player.
But the math is simple. Less Durant equals more losses.
“It’s not ideal to have him have such a burden,” coach Steve Nash said. “But I don’t know what options we have other than to play him less and lose more. He’s a great player, and we’re down a great player and a really good player and a few others. So I don’t know if we have the luxury right now.
“Hopefully, the season gives us opportunities. We had one recently with the shoulder where he didn’t play for four days, so that lessened the blow and allowed him to kind of regenerate. But he’s going to have a lot of responsibility. That’s just the way it is, and when we can we try to give him a reprieve, [we will.]”
After logging 40:30 on Tuesday against the Knicks, Durant’s workload is looking even heavier.
Durant is averaging 35.8 minutes, about 2.7 more than he did last season and tied for the most he’s played since 2015-16. Back then he was just 27 and hadn’t ruptured his Achilles tendon yet.
He hasn’t logged more minutes since 2013-14, when he averaged 38.5. But listening to Durant, the Nets may have to protect him from himself.
“I’m a basketball player. I enjoy playing. I want to play for 48 minutes. That’s just what it is,” said Durant. “And I know a lot of people — I don’t even know if they’re concerned or not. It’s just a conversation to have: I’m playing more minutes and I’m coming off an injury and all this other stuff.
“But I like to play, and if I can convince coach to play me the whole second half sometimes and put me in earlier in quarters, I’m gonna do it. It don’t matter. My basketball life is not that long, so I’m gonna get the most out of it.”
That’s something Durant admits he occasionally attempts.
“Yeah [Saturday] I did. We played Phoenix and I played the whole second half. He did, and [Tuesday] he just threw me in earlier in the fourth. I didn’t ask him. But I’m sure for the rest of the season, I’ll try to sneak some of those 40- plus-minute games in. But … I like being out there.”
The Nets have their fourth back-to-back of the season Friday and Saturday versus Minnesota and Chicago. Durant has played both ends of the first three, matching his total for all of last season when Brooklyn had 13 back-to-backs.
The Nets’ Dec. 21 home game versus Washington will now be televised by TNT. Brooklyn’s 112-110 win over the Knicks averaged 1.8 million viewers on TNT, peaking at 2.7 million viewers from 9:45-10 p.m. It delivered TNT’s best local market rating (3.8) for a regular-season Knicks or Nets game in the city since 2017 (excluding opening night).
Rookie Cam Thomas has averaged 9.8 points in his past four games on 48.3 percent shooting. … The Nets drew a sellout crowd of 18,081 on Tuesday, breaking the Barclays Center mark they had just set Saturday against Phoenix by 10 fans.
The Long Island Nets requested waivers on guard Isaiah Wright.
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