MIAMI — Nic Claxton’s shot blocking is a weapon, but one Kevin Durant doesn’t want Brooklyn to have to use quite so much.
To Durant, it’s not what their young center can do for the Nets, but what they can do for their young center.
“It’s great to have and a luxury to have, but you don’t want to rely too much on that. We know Nic is going to be there, but you don’t want to just give up the driving lane,” Durant said with a smile and wave of the hand.
“We want to make Nic’s life easier and not put too much pressure on him, because he can get on foul trouble. We have to make life easier for Nic. But even if they do get there, he’s there for us. He’s on top of the rim and he’s making guys alter and change their shots. We can make his life easier by keeping the ball in front, too.”
Claxton had five blocks in Friday’s win at New Orleans, and has three or more in a career-high five straight games, the best streak with three or more for a Net since Brook Lopez in November 2012 (also five straight).
With that effort, Claxton surpassed Lopez to lead the NBA in blocks per game (2.6), block percentage (7.9), shooting percentage (73.7) and effective shooting percentage (73.7).
At 23, his two-year, $20 million extension this summer is looking more and more like a bargain compared to the king’s ransom Rudy Gobert cost Minnesota.
Other than the Nov. 7 contest in Dallas that Yuta Watanabe left injured, he hadn’t logged fewer than 18 minutes since Jacque Vaughn took over on Nov. 1. That is, until the Japanese forward got limited to 12:13, then 6:03 and 8:50 in the last three.
“That’s where that challenge of having a lot of guys who can play,” Vaughn said.
“So T.J. [Warren] got the nod [Friday], got it rolling a little bit, extended to him. Then you had Seth [Curry] the other night get extended a little bit, took away from Yuta’s minutes. So we got that balance which is good of having Yuta, Royce [O’Neale], Seth, T.J. Who’s going to be most consistent on a nightly basis will end up getting those minutes. But [Friday] it was trying to get a feel for who could help.”
Durant’s next point will tie him for 14th on the NBA all-time scoring list. Dominique Wilkins had 26,668 points, while Durant sits at 26,667.
David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards, Day’Ron Sharpe and Alondes Williams are all out against Miami, on G-League assignment.
Donovan Williams has played exceptionally well for Long Island, averaging 16.6 points in five games.
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