Tiki & Tierney: All eyes on Kevin Durant to carry banged-up Nets past Bucks


So much for a smooth sailing journey to the East Finals for the Brooklyn Nets. They're now navigating through rough water and nasty weather.

The Nets suffered two losses against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 of their second-round series on Sunday afternoon. After star guard Kyrie Irving went down with a sprained right ankle during the second quarter, Brooklyn lost the game, 107-96, before a sold-out capacity crowd at Fiserv Forum. The series is now tied at two games apiece.

During Monday's show, Tiki and Tierney discussed the Nets' ugly weekend in Milwaukee, and whether superstar Kevin Durant will be able to carry the team to a series victory without Irving and possibly James Harden, who's played just 43 seconds of the series due to a hamstring injury.

"The Brooklyn Nets are becoming victims of what victimized them all season long: inconsistent health of their stars," Tiki said. "Look, maybe if Joe Harris hits two more of those jumpers or even just one of those three-pointers [in Game 3], they take a 3-0 lead, as opposed to making it 2-1 going into Game 4. I can't put it all on the stars, because the role players had a role to play and they didn't do it in Game 3 as well. But when Kyrie goes down in Game 4, I mean, all bets are off now.

"KD is going to try to carry this team by himself, it seems like. There may be some acceleration to James Harden's return, which could be risky in and of itself. But KD has got to take on the role of 'I am the do-it-all, sometimes by myself' superstar of the Brooklyn Nets. And that's a challenge that I'm not sure he was looking forward to when he first came to the Brooklyn Nets."

Tierney echoed Tiki's sentiments, arguing that Durant will soon have no choice but to assume a role he's deliberately tried to avoid over the years.

"He has actually tactically strategized to avoid the situation that you just described," Tierney said. "Now, Kevin Durant is so good at basketball, I will make no definitive statements on the limitations as to what he can provide the Nets in the next couple of games. That's how much I respect Kevin Durant's ability, his prowess to ball... But if the last two games are an accurate foreshadow, a snapshot, then the Nets are dead.

"[Durant was] 9-for-25 in Game 4, 11-for-28 in Game 3, both games woefully below 50-percent [shooting]... I want to see what he's been running from, and I want to see if he's got broad enough shoulders to elevate... If James Harden doesn't play a second the rest of the way, and obviously same with Kyrie -- so 66-percent of the star trio out -- I don't care if the Bucks lose by two points by combined, [Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer] fired. If those two guys don't play and you can't win the series, you've got to go."

During Games 3 and 4 in Milwaukee, Durant scored a combined 58 points on 38-percent shooting, along with 23 rebounds, 10 assists, and five steals.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series will take place on Tuesday in Brooklyn, with tipoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Nets currently have a 57-percent chance of advancing to the East Finals for the first time since 2003.

The entire Nets-Bucks conversation between Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow the Tiki and Tierney Show on Twitter @TikiAndTierney and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.