Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving Have Given Fans 103 Reasons to Love the Brooklyn Nets’ Title Chances

There’s a strong possibility that Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the Brooklyn Nets will have to earn their playoff spot by winning at least one single-elimination game in the play-in round.

There’s also a possibility those very same Nets can end up winning it all.

Brooklyn’s 2021-22 season has been eventful, to say the least. From Irving’s vaccine situation to James Harden’s trade request to a heaping pile of absences, the Nets have had to fight for their sub-par 35-33 record. Yet the last week has shown how dangerous they can be. Namely, how dangerous KD and Kyrie can be in any seven-game series.

Kevin Durant dropped 53 points days after Kyrie Irving’s monster game

It’s pretty unbelievable to think about Durant. In the 2019 Finals, the 6-foot-10 superstar tore his Achilles and missed the entire 2019-20 season. This year, he missed a good month after spraining his MCL. Yet at 33 years old, he looks better than ever.

Durant had his best game of the year Sunday against the New York Knicks, scoring a season-high 53 points. With Kyrie out, the 14-year vet made 19-of-37 shots including four triples and an additional 11 free throws. He would also finish with nine assists and six rebounds in Brooklyn’s 110-107 victory.

“That man’s insane,” teammate Bruce Brown told ESPN after the game. “He makes everything look easy out there.”

Durant is now averaging 29.6 points per game, fully asserting himself into the race for the scoring title. He’s now just 0.1 points behind the league’s three co-leaders: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid.

KD’s incredible performance also comes just a few days after Irving’s 50-point clinic. The mercurial guard had the most efficient 50-point game in NBA history, leading the Nets to a convincing 132-121 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

The Nets can beat anybody with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving playing at this level

What a week it’s been for the Nets.

Following a four-game losing streak that dropped their record below .500, Brooklyn went 3-0. First, Irving scored 50 points in an easy victory over Charlotte. Second, the Nets thrashed Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers on the road by 29 points. Then on Sunday, Durant’s 53 points helped Brooklyn beat its crosstown foe.

A statement victory sandwiched between 103 combined points from Kyrie and KD. And just like that, the Nets are back.

Keep in mind, this team was in the conversation for the one-seed less than two months. However, an 11-game losing streak buried any chance of a high seed. However, it’s not fair to hold that against them when A) Durant was out, B) Irving was only eligible for road games, and C) Harden was actively playing defense against his own team.

What the last week has proven is that both Durant and Irving are game-changing talents who can take over at a moment’s notice. And health and vaccine mandate permitting, those two will be a nightmare for any opponent, playoffs or otherwise.

Durant and Irving will receive reinforcements in the form of Ben Simmons

Brooklyn is a good, borderline-great team when Durant and Irving are both on the floor. When Ben Simmons enters the mix, it could progress to borderline unstoppable.

Truthfully, there’s no expectation for what Simmons will bring to the Nets. The 25-year-old hasn’t played all season due to his Sixers holdout and a recent back injury. However, the 6-foot-11 point forward will bring a level of defense and playmaking the Nets can definitely use.

Simmons will join Durant and Irving, as well as key role players Seth Curry, Patty Mills, Goran Dragic, and Andre Drummond. Collectively, that’s a strong group with an impressive combination of superstars and veteran contributors. There’s a risk given their lack of on-court chemistry, but the talent is undeniable.

There’s a reason the Nets have been one of the main title favorites this season despite their record. That’s strictly because of Durant and Irving, two champions with proven postseason track records. Add a healthy Simmons to the fold, and the Nets should be ready to make some noise come playoff time.

All statistics courtesy of NBA.com.

RELATED: Kevin Durant’s Return Is Huge for the Brooklyn Nets, but He Can’t Save Them From the Play-In