BROOKLYN — There was little surprise when the NBA on TNT hosts announced that Nets superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were both named starters for this year’s NBA All-Star Game taking place in Utah. Both players have been having strong seasons for the Nets and have been a big part of their resurgence after stumbling out of the gate.
Durant is making his 13th All-Star appearance and his third straight as a member of the Nets and Irving will be making his eighth trip to the All-Star festivities. The announcement came less than a half hour before Brooklyn hosted the Detroit Pistons at Barclays Center.
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There was some thought that Durant could have earned enough votes to be named a team captain, but Giannis Antetokounmpo will serve as the Eastern Conference captain. The Nets, however, are the only team with two players headed to the All-Star Game this season.
It’s unclear if Durant will be healthy enough to take part in this year’s festivities while he recovers from an MCL sprain he suffered earlier this month. The Nets’ cornerstone player is said to be progressing as expected and he will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
When he spoke with reporters earlier this week, it sounded as though he wanted to be able to play in the NBA All-Star Game.
“I want to play in tomorrow if I can. So, that’s what my sense of urgency is,” Durant said on Tuesday. “Obviously I don’t want to rush anything. I want to make sure I’m 100 percent. But yeah, I want to play. I want to be a part of all these events. I missed going back to Golden State my previous home. So, it’s been three years since I did that. You see all this stuff pass you by so I want to participate in everything. I know I got to take my time and make sure I do my rehab and get back on the floor.”
Durant is averaging 29.7 points (eighth in the league and fourth in the East), 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.5 blocks (ninth in the league) in 36.0 minutes per game. Irving has averaged 26.8 points (13th in the league and eighth in the East), 5.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.0 steals in 36.9 minutes per game (fourth in the league), while shooting 48.7 percent from the field.
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