With Kevin Durant (calf) out, Celtics' focus will be on Kyrie Irving

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Jacob Camenker
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

With Kevin Durant (calf) out, Celtics' focus will be on Kyrie Irving originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It looks like both the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets are going to be significantly shorthanded in their Friday night matchup.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that Jaylen Brown (shoulder), Kemba Walker (load management), and Robert Williams (knee) would all be out for the C's on Friday night. That marked three of their starters, so it looked like they would have a tough task at hand facing the Nets.

However, Kevin Durant (calf) who had been listed as questionable for this game now officially will be out of action. The Nets confirmed that he will miss the game along with James Harden (hamstring) and a slew of other contributors.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Needless to say, this is a huge development for the C's. While Boston will still be without two of their top three players and their best big man, the Nets will be without two of their three best players as well. That should level the playing field at least a bit.

It also means that this contest well could become a showdown between Jayson Tatum and his former teammate, Kyrie Irving. If that's the case, the C's will probably throw the kitchen sink at Irving as they look to slow him down.

So far this season, Irving has played against the Celtics twice and is averaging 37.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game.

That said, in each of those games, he had either Durant or Harden by his side. Without one of them, will he be able to keep going at the same clip? Or will Marcus Smart be able to stymie him a bit and get the Nets offense out of rhythm?

Out for revenge?

Irving's FG% vs. Celtics this season

63.6

Variation

Single

As for Tatum, he had averaged 25.5 points per game in two outings against the Nets, but he will need to post better numbers to help the C's earn a win.

Tatum is mired in a mini slump, as he has logged 3-of-17 shooting performances in back-to-back games. He should be motivated to break out of his slump on a night where he needs to carry the offense.

At the very least, this game should tell us a bit about the Celtics' competitiveness and their ability to win when they aren't fully healthy. If they can beat the Nets and earn their eighth victory in the last nine games, it would be a big-time win for them as they jockey for position in the Eastern Conference standings.

Coverage for the Celtics' game against the Nets begins at 6:30 p.m. with "Celtics Pregame Live" on NBC Sports Boston. It can also be streamed via the MyTeams App.