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Kevin Durant playing back-to-backs no longer an issue for Nets

Kevin Durant inside the Barclays Center's Crown Club

Kevin Durant inside the Barclays Center's Crown Club to see the Andy Warhol portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat on Oct. 25, 2021. Credit: Brooklyn Nets

About an hour after the Nets finished off their first home victory of the season on Monday, some of the players toured Barclays Center’s newest lounge for well-heeled fans.

It’s called the Crown Club, and Kevin Durant and Co. got to see some pricey artwork, including an Andy Warhol portrait of the late American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. That dapper doodle will be auctioned off by Christie’s New York on Nov. 11, with the opening bid expected to be about $20 million.

"I’ve got it," Durant said of the funds. "But . . . "

Durant, who is making a touch over $40 million this season and has a $198 million contract extension kicking in next season, certainly can make a bid if he wants to. But it seems as if for now Durant is content with displaying his artistry on the court.

On Monday, Durant led a balanced attack as the Nets beat the Washington Wizards, 104-90.

The Nets won easily even though James Harden had his second straight subpar game with 14 points. Durant, who scored 38 in a loss to Charlotte on Sunday, had 25 points on Monday.

Remember when Durant’s ability to play the second half of back-to-backs was a question mark for the Nets? It wasn’t on Monday as Durant continues to make it all the way back from his 2019 Achilles surgery.

"I think we definitely want to pick our spots and try to protect him at times," coach Steve Nash said. "But early here, I think the signs are positive. Hopefully, we can create some sort of template where everyone feels comfortable that we’re going to get through the season in a whole way."

Durant enjoyed the result and his chances to match up against his Team USA buddy Bradley Beal. At the end of the first half, the Wizards guard hit a 25-foot three-pointer, which led to Durant coming down the floor and hitting a 26-foot three-pointer of his own and then flashing a big smile at Beal.

"Me and Brad was talking a little [stuff] to each other there," Durant said. "And he got me a nice move and I wanted to come back and knock one down. Me and Brad got close this summer with Team USA. When you see one of your friends out there on the floor, you compete a little harder. So that was one of those moments."

Durant will get to see another talented pal on Wednesday when the Nets host Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat. Durant talked about the challenge of great players facing each other on the court and how it fuels them all.

"You always want to make good plays on each end," he said. "And if I get a chance to guard Brad on a switch, I don't want him to feel like he can get anything easy, and if I catch him on a switch on the other end, I wanted him to work, too. So all great players have that mentality and Brad felt the same way. That's what makes this game beautiful."

Beautiful like a $20 million-plus painting? That’s in the eye of the beholder.

New York Sports