In a strange round-trip, Brooklyn Nets ahead Kevin DurantNight climaxed with an unexpected pull from Friday’s 123-117 loss to the Toronto Raptors in the third quarter due to health and safety protocols.
The association clarified in a statement that Durant was initially unavailable to start a match on Friday because someone who interacted with him earlier in the day had an inconclusive test result for COVID-19. He later dropped off the bench and entered the match at 4:13 in the first quarter.
“Durant was initially excluded from the match while reviewing the score,” the statement read. “According to the league’s health and safety protocols, we do not require a player to be quarantined until a positive test result for close contacts is confirmed.”
However, during the match, a positive result for that person came back and Durant was eliminated in the third quarter “out of extreme caution,” according to the league.
The association said Durant has tested negative for COVID-19 three times in the past 24 hours, including two PCR tests on Friday. Contacts are being traced to determine if Durant was in fact in close contact with the individual who tested positive.
The rest of the nets were allowed to travel to Philadelphia for Saturday’s match against 76, but Durant will not make the trip, sources told ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski.
While sitting on a bench during the recess, a Nets employee informed Durant that he had been pulled from the game. Stunned Durant shook his head as he walked down the tunnel to the locker room, threw a water bottle in frustration.
– Kevin Durant (@ KDTrey5) February 6, 2021
Durant finished with just 8 points on a 3 of 8 shot in 19 minutes, plus 6 rebounds and 5 assists. It was only the second time in the past 10 seasons that Durant had failed to reach double numbers, breaking a 166-game winning streak. Durant scored zero points on February 28, 2017, against the Wizards, leaving the game after 90 seconds with a knee injury.
Friday’s match marked the first time Durant had been knocked off the bench in his 13-year career in the NBA.
Moments before he was pulled from the match, Durant was whistled for his fifth foul, but Nets won a challenge to cancel the call on the floor. It is the first time in Durant’s career that he has finished off a match with more errors than field goals.
Durant, who was infected with COVID-19 last March, is the second-highest goal scorer in the NBA, with an average of 30.8 points per game. He previously missed three matches in early January due to health and safety protocols.