Much has been made about how little time Brooklyn’s Big 3 has gotten to build chemistry. But they have taken a quantum leap the past few weeks, with a historically dominant playoff series to show it.
“We’ve made strides in a short period of time,” Kyrie Irving said. “It feels like three weeks ago we were talking about getting on the same page, doing the little things in order for us to win.”
Kevin Durant, James Harden and Irving averaged 85.2 points in the first-round series gentleman’s sweep of Boston, the highest-scoring series for a trio in NBA history (minimum four games played), according to Elias Sports Bureau.
They broke the record set by Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Rudy LaRusso, who averaged 84.2 points for the Lakers against the Pistons in the 1962 Western Division Finals.
But after injuries, absences and COVID-19 quarantines robbed them of almost all of the regular season, Irving, Harden and Durant are just happy to finally be together.
“It’s not even about the playoff run, it’s just us. When I first got traded here, the excitement in the vision of us playing together, that’s what we were missing the whole season,” Harden said. “That’s what was more exciting. We weren’t even worried about the playoff run, we were just happy to be on the court together.”
Harden had only returned on May 12 from hamstring woes that cost him 18 straight games. Limited to just 202 minutes over eight regular-season games, the Big 3 has rapidly built chemistry in the five postseason tilts since.
“We don’t want to take any of this time for granted, and we know this doesn’t happen too often in our culture, in our history, where three of the best scorers to ever play the game are on one team,” Irving said.
“I wish I could pinpoint exactly when things progressed for us other than just getting more experience throughout this journey. The last few weeks a lot has changed, just because we had a different focus than the regular season. … Then being on the road in Boston, we had no choice but to come together and make sure we were hitting on all cylinders.”
Durant-owned Thirty Five Ventures and Sabrina Ionescu announced a partnership in which the Liberty star will be an ambassador for the company and a strategic partner.
“Sabrina is a generational talent on the court, and it’s already clear that she moves different in the business world as well. We’re excited to build something special together,” Durant said.
Ionescu will work with “Boardroom” on content, events and editorial, including a collaboration with Durant. She also will become a strategic partner to Thirty Five Ventures, giving her visibility and access to stakeholders and venture capital.
“KD and Rich [Kleiman] have built something incredible with Thirty Five Ventures and ‘Boardroom’ and I’m excited to be a part of it first-hand as I expand my business off the court,” Ionescu said. “With KD and I both playing in New York it provides the unique opportunity for us to collaborate.”
Nets assistant Ime Udoka is expected to be a candidate for the Boston head-coaching job, according to Sports Illustrated. Jason Kidd is also believed to be a top contender.