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#pounditWednesday, June 7, 2023

Kevin Durant fires back at East rival for dissing his Nets teammate

Apr 23, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) looks up at the scoreboard in the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant was in protective big brother mode this week.

Before a game last week against the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers big Montrezl Harrell got asked about the strong recent play of Nets counterpart Nic Claxton, who has stepped up in Durant’s absence. Harrell brushed off Claxton’s impact and said that Kyrie Irving deserved the credit instead.

Here is Harrell’s full quote on Claxton:

Durant, sidelined since Jan. 8 with an MCL sprain, fired back at Harrell’s comments in an appearance this week on Boardroom’s “The ETCs” podcast.

“Montrezl? Come on, Montrezl,” said Durant, per Sixers Wire. “He was talking crazy. Montrezl is not like that. You’re an enforcer as a basketball player, but you’re not THAT guy like come on, man. Clax is having a good year, bro. Come on now. Don’t do that.

“There was a little shade in that,” Durant added. “It’s like, of course Kyrie’s the head of the snake. Just like [Harrell’s teammate] Joel Embiid is the head of the snake [for the 76ers]. But we’re not gonna forget about Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey and you and James [Harden]. Like, come on, man. Give somebody some credit, fam. It ain’t that hard.”

The 23-year-old Claxton does indeed deserve his credit as he is in the midst of a breakout campaign. He is averaging a dependable 13.1 points and 8.9 rebounds a game manning the middle for Brooklyn and also leads the NBA in blocks per game (2.7) and field goal percentage (74.1). That has helped the Nets win four of their last six games despite Durant still being out.

While Harrell is correct that many of Claxton’s opportunities are created by Irving, that hardly makes Claxton’s efforts any less impressive. But for what it’s worth, Harrell does enjoy playing these mind games with opponents and had a different feud with another prominent East rival a few months ago.

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