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Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant was suffocated by the Boston Celtics defense again Saturday night. 

The Nets are now facing elimination in the NBA playoffs after a 109-103 loss put the team in a 3-0 hole. Critics have placed blame for Brooklyn’s struggles on coaching and Durant, who is going up against one of the NBA’s best defenses and shooting just 36.5% from the floor during the series. 

The four-time NBA scoring leader, who averaged 29.9 points this season, took just 11 shots in Game 3, scoring 16 points with eight rebounds and eight assists.

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Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets against the Boston Celtics during Game 3 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center April 23, 2022, in New York.  

Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets against the Boston Celtics during Game 3 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center April 23, 2022, in New York.  
(Al Bello/Getty Images)

“I was just thinking too much, to be honest, this whole series,” Durant said after the game, via ESPN. “Like how I approach the game. We got another game to play — another opportunity — and I’m looking forward to that.”

Durant was 13 for 41 (31.7%) in the two games in Boston with 12 turnovers, and the Nets were hoping he could regain his form back home. But the Celtics got center Robert Williams back from injury, which made their stingy defense even stronger in Brooklyn. 

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots against Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12) during the second half of Game 3 of a first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York.

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots against Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12) during the second half of Game 3 of a first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York.
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

“I feel like the first two games I was trying to be too aggressive,” Durant said. “A team that’s loading up on me, that’s trying to take me out of all my actions. I felt like I was still trying to force the first two games, and watching film, a lot of my teammates were open. And they were knocking down shots, so I felt my approach to this game was to play off of everybody — get in the flow of the offense and let the ball move and find me.”

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Durant, who has played at least 41 minutes in each of the three games this series, said fatigue has yet to be a factor in his play. He argued that the Celtics just have “more size than us.” 

“Clearly they’re loading up on him, sending bodies to him, being physical with him. … I think it’s the unforced turnovers,” added Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash, via the outlet. “I don’t think Kevin has to go off. We shot a good percentage, we moved the ball. It’s just the ones that we just gave up. Poor decision-making, not connecting, simple passes, and they’re going the other way. That, to me, has been the difference in all three games.”

Outside of Durant, the Nets have struggled to get Kyrie Irving going against the Celtics. On Saturday, the guard went 6 for 17 and missed all seven of his 3-pointers.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving sits on the baseline during the first half of Game 3 of a first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York. 

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving sits on the baseline during the first half of Game 3 of a first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York. 
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Nets are still searching for answers as they hope to avoid elimination in Game 4 Monday night. It’s unclear if Ben Simmons will make his debut for Brooklyn in the elimination game. 

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“We know what it is,” Durant added. “I don’t think no speech or anything will do at this part of the year. You know what it is. We’re down 3-0. We got another game on Monday. Just come out and play.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report



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