NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the second half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on April 06, 2022 in New York City. The Nets won 110-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The Brooklyn Nets will take on the Boston Celtics Thursday night. This is the first game the Nets will play without Kevin Durant this season. Sunday night against the Miami Heat KD injured his knee and will be about a month with an isolated MCL sprain according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

So far in Eastern Conference games the Nets are 20-7. They are second in the league from three shooting at 39.2%. Their leading shooter is Day’Ron Sharpe at 80%. Over the last 10 games the Nets are 9-1 scoring 120 points per game and shooting at 54% from the field.

The Nets and Celtics have faced off already once before this season. The Celtics won 103-92, KD had 31 points and Jaylen Brown had 34. Brown is coming off of a 41 point game against the Pelicans watch out for him.

The Celtics are 16-8 in the Eastern Conference. They are fourth in the conference in rebounding at 44.1 per game with Jayson Tatum leading them with 8.2 per game. Over the last 10 games the Celtics are 8-2 averaging 120.7 points per game and shooting at 47.9%. They have been giving up more points than the Nets. The Celtics have been giving up 113.6 over the last 10 games and the Nets are giving up 109.1 points per game.

With KD out it is now time for Kyrie to step up. Losing one of the best scorers the game has ever seen will not be easy but it can be done. Expect Kyrie to have the ball in his hands a lot more. Getting in space and creating for himself. Over the last 10 games Irving has averaged 27.1 points, 5.1 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. He is shooting at 49.5% from the field and 44% from three. Watch for pick and rolls with Nic Claxton. He has been a nice surprise for the Nets this season. Averaging 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. He will continue to have an impact on this team.

There are others that will step up as well. TJ Warren a vet coming off the bench that can score from anywhere will have to chip in a lot. Royce O’Neale is one of the best shooters on the team, for the season he is shooting 41.1% from downtown. Another good shooter is Yuta Watanabe hitting at 52.7%. There is plenty of shooting and as long as guys get open and hit shots they have a chance to survive without KD. Another big name that needs to step up is Ben Simmons. In the beginning he had a rough start but has come back to life. With KD out he will have to play a bigger role and help score more. Over the last 10 games he is averaging 6.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and six assists per game. Those numbers will need to go up with KD out. He could possibly be the X-factor for this team and could boost his confidence as well.

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