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Durant’s 45 points lift Nets over Magic

Lights up Orlando as Brooklyn continues long stand

November 29, 2022 John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Kevin Durant had a feeling he was going to have his best game of the season as soon as he opened his eyes Monday morning.

“When I woke up,” Durant jibed when asked when he knew he was going to have a special night before 15,704 fans at Downtown’s Barclays Center.

Durant poured in a season-high 45 points, grabbed seven rebounds, handed out five assists and blocked a pair of shots as the Brooklyn Nets held off the Orlando Magic, 109-102, to reach .500 and improve to 2-0 on their ongoing season-high seven-game homestand.

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“I was able to knock some shots down. I want to keep it up,” said Durant, who finished a blistering 19-of-24 from the field, 3-of-5 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 at the free-throw line.

“We just had to be creative and make some shots.”

Durant certainly wasn’t alone in his creativity or his production.

Kyrie Irving scored 20 points and Nic Claxton and Joe Harris added 17 apiece as Brooklyn returned to the break-even mark for the first time since splitting its first two games of the year.

“Getting to .500 is definitely a goal of ours the past few weeks,” noted Durant. “We’ll see what happens going forward.”

“(Durant) carried us tonight,” added Irving.

Durant scored the final seven points of a 10-0 Brooklyn run to end the third quarter, finishing with 19 in the period, to put the Nets ahead to stay.

“Overall, we were able to lock in, get some stops and capitalize by getting the ball to Kevin,” said Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn. “He just keeps going. After the (37) minutes he played last night, to lead us to a win is great. He led us tonight.”

Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn marveled at Kevin Durant’s ability to put up 45 points one night after playing 37 minutes vs. Portland. AP Photo by Julia Nikhinson

Claxton and Royce O’Neale combined for 23 rebounds as the Nets (11-11) beat the Magic (5-16) on the boards, 42-35.

Brooklyn also shot 54 percent from the floor as Irving and Claxton combined to go 16-of-27.

“We dug deep enough to come out with a win and that’s the goal,” Vaughn said.

Paolo Banchero and Bol Bol had 24 points apiece for Orlando, which dropped its fifth game in a row.

Brooklyn guard Ben Simmons, who missed all of last season with mental-health issues and a herniated disk, left the game in the first half with left-knee soreness after playing his best basketball of the campaign the past two weeks.

Simmons went scoreless in 11 minutes before departing in the second quarter of the last half of this back-to-back, which began with Sunday’s win over Portland.

“That same knee. Asked to be pulled out of the game. We’ll see how it looks tomorrow,” Vaughn said of Simmons’ injury, which kept him out of several games earlier this month “He hasn’t had this accumulation of games in a long time.”

The Nets will meet the Washington Wizards (11-10) in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Nic Claxton gives Joe Harris a hand after the Brooklyn sharpshooter put up a season-high 17 points Monday at Barclays Center. AP Photo by Julia Nikhinson

NOTHING BUT NET: Durant went 8-of-9 from the floor in the third quarter. … The Nets will be shooting for their fifth home win in a row and eighth in the past 12 contests overall when they host Washington on Wednesday. Brooklyn will welcome Toronto here on Friday before Boston (Sunday), Charlotte (Dec. 7) and Atlanta (Dec. 9) visit Barclays. … Harris, who played in only 14 games last season due to ankle surgery, put up a season-high point total on 5-of-11 shooting, including a pair of 3s. … The Nets’ next road game will be Dec. 10 at Indiana.


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