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Durant happy for home debut of Irving Sunday, “I’m glad this is all behind us”

After New York lifted its vaccine mandate for performers and athletes like Kyrie Irving, Michael Holley and Michael Smith outline realistic expectations for the Brooklyn Nets.

The cloud has been lifted over the Brooklyn Nets.

The pandemic is still with us — the BA.2 “stealth” variant is hitting New York — and Kyrie Irving is still unvaccinated, but after New York Mayor Eric Adams added an exception to the city’s employer vaccine mandate, Irving can play home games in Brooklyn and is expected to make his home debut Sunday against the Hornets.

Kevin Durant, for one, is happy. Here are his quotes, via Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“It’s a long time coming,” Nets star forward Kevin Durant said. “It’s an exciting time for Brooklyn Nets fans and New York fans to see one of our own back on the floor at home. It means a lot to our team, happy to have him back, and look forward to finishing the season strong. I’m glad this is all behind us.”

Durant also noticed things changed when the Mets and Yankees were the teams about to be impacted.

“There’s no crying over spilled milk. It is what it is,” Durant said of the way things have played out this season. “But I’m not naive to the fact that the Mets and the Yankees, they have a lot of power in our city. I’m sure once they all helped and had conversations with whoever they needed to talk to, it was able to push it over the top. So sports is a huge factor in a lot of these major cities and I’m glad we can get things done for everybody to move forward. I know New York City fans are excited about it.”

Durant should be happy, having Irving back full time makes the Nets far more dangerous, especially come the play-in and playoffs. With two elite shot creators and scorers, the Nets can win any one game by overwhelming their opponents.

Whether the Nets can get enough stops to win a seven-game series, or battle out of the No. 8 seed and the play-in, remains to be seen. But you can be sure the teams at the top of the East do not want to deal with Durant and Irving in the first round of the playoffs.