No Kevin Durant, no Kyrie Irving, no problem for the Brooklyn Nets.
Excuse me, that should actually be no Kevin Durant, no Kyrie Irving, no Ben Simmons, no Seth Curry, no Nic Claxton, no Joe Harris, no T.J. Warren, no Royce O'Neale, no problem. Because that's how the Nets won on Saturday.
Missing their entire starting lineup and three of their four top bench players by minutes per game, the Nets somehow managed to defeat the Indiana Pacers 136-133 on the road.
Cam Thomas, who entered the game averaging 6.1 points in 14.4 minutes per game, led the way with 33 points off the bench on 13-of-20 shooting. Day'Ron Sharpe, making his first start of the season after averaging 2.6 points, had 20 points on 13 shots with 12 rebounds and two blocks. Kessler Edwards, who had played a team-low 39 minutes all season, led the Nets in minutes with 34.
The list goes on. Every Net in the starting lineup save for guard Edmond Sumner was making his first start of the season, and the bench only extended to four players due to the number of absences.
Yes, they were playing the Pacers, but the Pacers are 14-13 and unlike Nets, wereplaying their starters. The Pacers were favored by 7.5 points at BetMGM. So you can understand why the Nets players, active and inactive, were treating the win like a massive upset:
The Nets' outlook was so bleak that head coach Jacque Vaughn was apologizing before the game, as nearly every player was held out due to injury management. All of them save for Claxton saw minutes on Friday in a win over the Atlanta Hawks.
"It's a legitimate question," Vaughn said. "That's a conversation I had with Kevin. I hope that fan knows that Kevin really wanted to play. He understands that. He wants to win every game. But it's a decision that for us as an organization, just had to do ...
"I would say to that fan that I'm looking out for Kevin Durant's future. I'm looking out for the organization's future. And really apologize if this was the game you chose. But he's given all that he's had in every game since the beginning of this season."
Every player who missed Saturday is reportedly expected to play on Monday against the Washington Wizards, except for Royce O'Neale, who will remain out due to personal reasons.