It’s laborious to imagine that any of this might have gone any higher. That’s how good it was. That’s how a lot, how fully, these Brooklyn Nets rose from their blueprints Tuesday night time, changing from chalkboard X’s and O’s to flesh and blood and magnificence and pizzazz.
Perhaps it gained’t be like this each night time. Perhaps it could’t be. Perhaps as quickly as Christmas Day, when the Celtics pay a go to to Barclays Middle, we are able to catch our breath just a little bit and never enable the hype and the hyperbole to blare onto town streets, not enable the purple to invade our prose as we describe them play basketball.
For now, let’s put within the easiest phrases potential:
Large-time basketball is again in New York Metropolis.
The Nets have been that good, that clean, that strong, that spectacular in demolishing the Warriors, 125-99. It was an end-to-end brutalizing of a proud, diminished champion lacking so lots of the key elements who helped earn them that designation.
Chief amongst them, after all, was the person sporting No. 7 within the black jersey on the opposing workforce. It was not possible to not surprise what Kevin Durant could be Tuesday night time. Positive, Kyrie Irving (26 factors, 4 assists) had been crushed up final yr. There was some concern how the framers of the Nets’ tradition and fundamental basis — guys like Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen — may react to the brand new circulate chart.
And a few of these issues will nonetheless must be addressed.
Nevertheless it was Durant who was, who’s, the wild card. And the second which may have precipitated essentially the most internal celebration amongst Nets followers and Durant acolytes wasn’t any of the seven baskets he transformed, making it look as simple as ever as he assembled 22 factors, or the best way he ran the ground, or the best way he stored his teammates concerned.
No. There was this second: halfway via the third quarter, simply earlier than he clocked out for the night time, with the Nets already up by 28 factors. The Warriors had a breakaway. Stephen Curry, making his personal long-awaited comeback, discovered Justin Toscano-Anderson for what ought to’ve been a simple layup.
Besides right here got here a blur of arms, flying towards the basket, blocking the shot — however not earlier than it hit the backboard first, half a second earlier. Goaltending. Two factors for Golden State. It was a non-play play. And but, in that second, it was clear: Kevin Durant isn’t nervous, even just a little bit, about his Achilles.
So there’s no cause for the remainder of us to be, both.
“He appears like Kevin, he performs like Kevin. I don’t need to begin making expectations till he will get going, will get some video games underneath his belt,” Nets coach Steve Nash mentioned.
After which Nash added: “He has a watch for the lengthy recreation. He’s grateful to be again on the ground. He’s simply having fun with his well being and his capability to play within the NBA once more.”
Mentioned the person of the hour himself: “I don’t assume I’ve to point out anyone something, no matter folks like about my recreation they’ll gravitate to. I don’t need to show myself, however I would like to have the ability to do no matter Coach wants me to do on the ground.”
How about just a little little bit of every part?
How about trying such as you’ve by no means been gone, your stroke trying good, your wind positive, your gait each bit the swish gallop we bear in mind, the fearless and freaky athleticism awfully near that.
Once more: one recreation. An ideal begin, however solely a begin. Nonetheless, in New York, the place now we have for too a few years pressed our noses in opposition to storefront home windows watching very good basketball being performed someplace else — in all places else — ultimately now we have the probabilities these Nets deliver.
Finally now we have a workforce ok to make an empty area buzz, and to make you surprise if possibly, simply possibly, will probably be on the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues the place the following nice New York sports activities story will really rise.
“We all know what the aim is after the primary 72 video games,” Irving mentioned. “We all know it’s in regards to the subsequent 16 wins. Our objectives are greater this yr.”
Man. We missed this.