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Kevin Durant expected to return to Nets Monday vs. Cavaliers after four-day rest

Nets forward Kevin Durant shoots over Cavaliers center

Nets forward Kevin Durant shoots over Cavaliers center Ed Davis for a basket during the first half of an NBA game at Barclays Center on Wednesday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

CLEVELAND – On Friday, the Nets overcame a 19-point deficit to defeat a four-win Magic team without benefit of the services of superstar Kevin Durant, who was resting a sprained right shoulder. As it turns out, the Nets got the best of both worlds because Durant practiced on Sunday and will start Monday night against the Cavaliers after a four-day rest.

"Kevin is great," Nets coach Steve Nash said after practice. "I think it served his shoulder well to miss a game."

The return of Durant, who is second in the NBA with a 28.6 scoring average, obviously will be huge for the Nets (12-5) against the Cavaliers (9-8). The Nets also welcomed back Paul Millsap, who missed the previous four games for personal reasons.

"Paul is available," Nash said. "Whether we go to him or not will be determined. He hasn’t been in the gym all week."

Even so, the Nets still will be undermanned without Bruce Brown, who suffered hamstring tightness against the Magic, Joe Harris (sprained left ankle) and Nic Claxton (non-COVID illness).

"Bruce we’re still evaluating as we go, but he’s going to miss tomorrow and we’ll see after that," Nash said. "Joe is still out for these next two games (including at Boston on Wednesday), and we’ll evaluate after Thanksgiving. Nic is still working his way back into shape, so that will be a little while."

Asked if Claxton might get back into shape playing for the Long Island Nets in the G League, Nash said, "It’s not out of the question. Whatever it takes to get him back up to where he was before."

Assessing the challenge of the upcoming two-game trip, Nash said, "Cleveland’s had some injuries, but they still have a lot of guys that can play and can be tough to defend. Boston, they’re probably not right now bringing that type of level every night, but they’re capable of playing at a high level. We’ve got to be sharp and play well both games."

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