NBA: 5 storylines to follow during the homestretch of the regular season

Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)
Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

5 big storylines heading into the homestretch of the 2021-22 NBA season. 

Believe it or not, we’ve cruised past the 60-game mark of the NBA season and are heading down the homestretch. And while we usually have a pretty good idea of how things will shake out by this point, the 2022 season still has a lot of unanswered questions.

Let’s take a look at five big storylines to follow during the homestretch of the season.

How much ground can the Nets make up?

The combination of Kevin Durant’s injury, James Harden’s…ordeal, Ben Simmons’…other ordeal, and Kyrie Irving’s part-time employee status have the preseason title favorite Brooklyn Nets sitting tied for 8th in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Durant’s return certainly gives them a puncher’s chance to move up in the standings, but how far can he take them?

They’re 2.5 games back of the Raptors for the 7-seed, but that would only affect homecourt in the Play-In Tournament. The real prize is the 6-seed, but it won’t be easy to capture. Cleveland currently occupies that spot in the standings and has a 5.5 game lead in the loss column over the Nets – a lot of ground to cover with only 17 games left on Brooklyn’s schedule.

It’s not impossible, but it would take a heroic effort from Kevin Durant to get it done. But as an NBA community, I think we can all agree that we want them in whatever seed gives us a Nets vs. 76ers first-round playoff matchup. Historic levels of pettiness in that series.