BROOKLYN — Kevin Durant joked as he stepped off the dais on Wednesday night that this Christmas would be his first one off in quite a while. While the Nets had played the past two Christmas days, this year they’ll be at home watching from the comfort of the couch and with their families.
The Nets feature two of the game’s biggest stars in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, not to mention they know boast the NBA’s longest active winning streak. However, offseason turmoil — a trade request by Durant that he later rescinded — forced the NBA’s hand to keep the Nets off the schedule for one of the league’s premiere regular season days.
The NBA on Christmas has become a staple for the holiday and one the league has used to showcase its best teams and biggest stars. With Durant’s future unknown at the time of the schedule, it meant the Nets were left off.
“Knicks-Nets would’ve been a great Christmas Day matchup,” Durant said on Wednesday after the Nets blew out the Golden State Warriors. The Knicks have been equally as hot lately and recently had their eight-game winning streak snapped.
“There’s probably some people, especially with how the Knicks are playing and the way we’re playing right now, I feel like that would be the perfect matchup on Christmas. Hopefully, we get that going forward,” Durant said. “But yeah, I’m probably responsible for us not planning on Christmas with what went on this summer. But hey, it is what it is. We play on the 26th, that’s close enough.”
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Instead, New York basically fans will get to see the Knicks on Christmas Day, but against the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden. The Nets will get to enjoy the day before traveling to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers the next day.
While the Nets may have missed the cut for Christmas Day, if their play continues to go the way it has the networks are likely to look to try and feature them more as the season progresses.