The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets were scheduled to clash on Wednesday in a battle between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The Nets are currently without Kevin Durant as he is sidelined with a knee injury. As per Erik Slater of ClutchPoints, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers was asked pregame about potentially overlooking the Nets amid Durant’s injury, as if someone named Kyrie Irving doesn’t exist.
Doc Rivers on 76ers potentially overlooking Nets without KD:
“Nah, they’re still pretty good without him. They have this guy named Kyrie Irving that I hear is terrific.”
— Erik Slater (@erikslater_) January 25, 2023
Kevin Durant initially injured his knee during Nets win against the Miami Heat back on Jan. 8. He has missed the last six games during which the Nets have churned out a record of 2-4. Kyrie Irving was inactive for one of those games, the Nets loss against the San Antonio Spurs on Jan 17. Although the Nets lost the first two games that Durant missed even with Kyrie Irving in the lineup, they have played better recently with two straight wins coming behind masterful performances from Irving.
In a win against the Utah Jazz on Jan. 20, Irving dropped a season-high 48 points. He followed that up with 38 points in a win against the Golden State Warriors. Both of those wins came on the road. On the season, Irving is averaging 26.7 points per game, 5.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 37 percent from the three-point line.
This game has major implications for the Eastern Conference standings. The Sixers are currently in second place in the East with a record of 30-16. The Nets are in fourth place with a record of 29-17 and only one game back of the Sixers. Even without Durant, Doc Rivers is sure to have the Sixers ready for this game.