The reality of trying to play four games in five nights while traveling from Brooklyn to Portland to Chicago and back to Brooklyn caught up with the Nets when they decided to rest Kevin Durant and Patty Mills against the Thunder Thursday night at Barclays Center.
In addition, LaMarcus Aldridge (right foot soreness) and Nic Claxton (left hamstring tightness) remained out along with Joe Harris (left ankle surgery), and of course, Kyrie Irving was out because he is not eligible to play games in New York, where he is not in compliance with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Explaining the decision to rest Durant and Mills, Nets coach Steve Nash said, "Four games, five nights, coast-to-coast, crazy start times to the games and time zones. It’s just an opportunity to use caution and get some rest."
The Nets recently rested James Harden in Portland. He was listed with a hyperextended left knee, but that was a precautionary measure and Harden played in the Nets’ victory Wednesday night in Chicago.
The decision to rest both Durant and Mills at a time when they are missing several key rotational players begged the question of why they didn’t stagger it and rest one against the Thunder and the other against the visiting Pelicans Saturday night.
"I think those guys have just played so much and have had so much responsibility in the games recently that it wouldn’t be smart for them to play tonight," Nash said. "Patty’s been kind of on the edge as far as his load for a while now, and Kevin is also. It was a little bit of a risk that we didn’t want to take tonight. If you get cute and try to mix it up, you’re putting a risk on one of those guys."
Nash also was asked if there is a possibility of Irving playing home games. "I’ve not heard anything at all," Nash said. "For me, it’s just he’ll be playing on the road."