BOSTON – Nets Star Kevin Durant said it “means the world” to him to pass the Hall of Famer Allen Iverson for 25th on the NBA’s all-time scorers list in Brooklyn’s 123-104 victory over the Celtics here at TD Garden Wednesday night.
“I mean, it means the world. I dedicated my life to this game at an early age… so I looked at all these guys that I’m like to pass up,” Durant said after scoring 21 points for them. Nets, who improved to a 14-5 lead in the Eastern Conference.
“I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be in the NBA like them, and make an impact in the league like them. So Iverson, he was the hall of fame for me. One of those guys that I emulated every time I did. was going out and playing with my friends. Everything is surreal. I imagined I would be in the league and I had an idea … but doing it is pretty special. “
For Durant, the significance of overtaking Iverson is twofold. Not only was he a kid when Iverson first exploded onto the NBA scene in the 1996-97 season, but growing up in the Washington, DC area, he secured a No.1 spot in the Iverson’s academic exploits at Georgetown.
Durant said that growing up, even when playing at the center of his childhood teams, he still tried to emulate Iverson’s signature crossover.
“I really became a huge fan of Iverson, obviously, like everyone else in his rookie year. But seeing him at Georgetown and playing for the coach [John] Thompson and all that culture that they built there, he was a big part of it, ”Durant said. “But once he got into the league, he had players… I was a center, a power forward in my young team, and we were all on a long crossing and double crossing. He influenced a lot of people.
“So to put him on the list and be one of the greatest on this list is amazing. I just have to keep going.”
Durant, who passed Iverson with his first basket of the game on Wednesday night and has a chance to make the top 20 all-time scorer this season, and the Nets have maintained their strong streak recently with their performance against the Celtics. (10 -9), who entered the game with wins in eight of his previous 11 games before trailing up to 29 points against Brooklyn.
Adding an extra layer of satisfaction to Durant’s victory was against Ime Udoka, the Celtics coach who was an assistant coach on the Nets last season and with the USA team under Gregg Popovich this summer. Durant admitted that there had been “friendly” discussions between the two during the game, and that winning here in Boston was all the more enjoyable as Udoka was on the opposite sidelines.
“Me and Ime got tight last year and the Olympics,” Durant said. “So just a friendly chat. I mean he talks so much bullshit to me. Yeah, so that helps, I guess there’s competition between the two of us teams. We’re all going to be here late in the season.
“It was good to beat Ime. I’m excited to come here and win in Boston. It’s a tough place to play. But now that Ime is a coach, it’s even nicer.”
The Nets, who surprisingly sit sixth in the NBA in defensive rankings, held Boston at 37.4 percent on overall shots and 11 for 48 on a 3-point range, including the all-star wing tandem. from Boston. Jayson tatum and Jaylen brown finishing 9 for 31 in the field and 1 for 17 in a range of 3 points.
“Not at all disheartening,” said Brown, who made a decision during the game as he continues to recover from the hamstring strain that cost him eight games before coming back on Monday in a win over Le Mans. Houston rockets. “We played good basketball and we have to keep playing good basketball.
“We can’t let this loss dictate the rest of the next four, five, six, seven games. We have to bounce back. That’s what good teams do.”
Brooklyn’s defensive performance, coupled with the Nets shooting over 50 percent from the field and 14 of their 35 3s, prompted James harden to call Wednesday the most complete Brooklyn game of the season.
“Definitely,” said Harden, who finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists and two steals. “I mean, so far. It’s only been 20 games or something. But so far, yes, and we can continue to build on that.”
Now Brooklyn is heading home with a clash against the Phoenix Suns – one of the two teams, with the leader of the league Golden State Warriors, with a better record than the Nets so far this season. But while last week’s game in Brooklyn between the Warriors and the Nets resulted in an unbalanced victory for Golden State, Durant stressed that Saturday’s game – win or lose – does not take on disproportionate importance in terms of showing the Nets were they enduring.
“We measure who we are every day,” Durant said. “We understand that these teams are coming and the teams are playing well. But it’s November. I mean, every team wants to be in good shape in the middle of the season, as the playoffs start to arrive.
“I’m not saying we want to give games but, win or lose, I don’t really think that will tell us much about where we are heading as a team, you know what I ‘I But we obviously want to stick to our principles and keep improving in this area. From the outside I understand the recordings and the narratives around the games and stuff. But I don’t think that can help us. say too much about what can happen later. “