It’s a shame the red-hot Brooklyn Nets will not be playing on Christmas Day.
But Kevin Durant virtually turned into Grinch last summer after his trade request, which has been rescinded, has played a role in the Nets’ non-inclusion on the NBA’s Christmas Day Schedule.
“Knicks–Nets would’ve been a great Christmas Day matchup. …Especially with how the Knicks are playing and the way we’re playing right now, I feel like that would be the perfect matchup on Christmas. Hopefully, we will get that going forward. But yeah, I’m probably responsible for us not playing on Christmas with what went on this summer. But hey, it is what it is. We play on the 26th, that’s close enough.”Kevin Durant via SNY
The Knicks, who have lost twice since Durant made his wish known, are penciled to host the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden in the curtain-raiser of the NBA five-game schedule on Christmas Day.
DeMar DeRozan’s clutch jumper flushed RJ Barrett’s season-high 44 points down the drain as the Chicago Bulls beat the Knicks, 118-117, Friday.
On the same night, the Nets stayed hot in a statement win over the Milwaukee Bucks, 118-100, at Barclays Center to match their longest winning streak since moving to Brooklyn a decade ago.
Durant scored 10 of his 24 points in the opening quarter as the Nets waxed hot early and never looked back. They led by as many as 23 in the third quarter and never trailed the rest of the way, putting the league on notice that their current eight-game winning streak isn’t just because of a favorable schedule.
On the other hand, the Knicks shot themselves in the foot by missing four free throws in the final 1:06, the last two by Jalen Brunson with 6.4 seconds left proved to be the most damning.
Despite their second straight loss after an eight-game winning streak, the 18-15 Knicks stayed in sixth spot in the Eastern Conference with a one-game lead over rival Atlanta Hawks (17-16).
Durant and the 21-12 Nets will have another big game the day after Christmas against the Cleveland Cavaliers. A ninth straight win will move them to third and dislodge the Cavaliers.
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