Brooklyn Boro

Nets shoot for seventh straight vs. Warriors

Try to extend season-high streak against defending champs

December 20, 2022 John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Brooklyn Nets want to get where the Golden State Warriors were last season: the NBA Finals and a championship parade.

They’ll get their first look at the defending titleholders, albeit without Stephen Curry, Wednesday night at Downtown’s Barclays Center.

Brooklyn, which is looking to extend a season-high six-game winning streak, edged Detroit, 124-121, Sunday behind 43 points from Most Valuable Player candidate Kevin Durant and 38 from Kyrie Irving.

The dynamic duo was in rare form in the Motor City, helping the Nets (19-12) continue their ascent following a turmoil-filled start that saw Steve Nash get fired and Irving receive an eight-game suspension.

Durant went 14-of-22 from the field, 12-of-13 at the free-throw line and 3-of-6 from 3-point range. He scored a career-best 26 points in the third quarter, outscoring the Pistons by one during the period.

Jordan Poole is coming off a career-best 43-point performance as the Warriors come to Downtown Brooklyn Wednesday. AP Photo by Frank Gunn

“I got a few free throws, and then I got some really good looks off of screens,” said Durant, who won two NBA Finals and appeared in a third with the Warriors before arriving in Downtown Brooklyn in 2019.

“I wanted to stay locked in on defense, because that usually gets me going on offense.”

Durant passed two NBA legends, John Havlicek and former Net Paul Pierce, on the all-time scoring list Sunday, finishing with 26,437 career points. He is 61 behind Tim Duncan for 15th place.

Irving hit 13-of-23 shots against the Pistons, marking the fourth time in the last five games he has broken the 30-point barrier.

The Warriors (15-16) had a breakout performance of their own Sunday night in Toronto, but it wasn’t from reigning Finals MVP Curry, who missed his second straight contest with a left-shoulder injury.

Jordan Poole poured in a career-best 43 points, matching Durant’s output in Detroit, as Golden State beat the Raptors, 126-110, to end a three-game slide and win for the first time in five games this season without Curry.

Draymond Green had 17 points and nine boards for the Warriors after sitting out last Friday’s loss at Philadelphia with a sore left quadriceps.

“Everybody needs to step up when one of our leaders goes down,” Poole said. “We did that tonight from the top to the bottom of the roster.”

Brooklyn suffered a two-game season-series sweep to Golden State last year, including a 117-99 defeat at Barclays on Nov. 16, 2021. The Nets dropped a 110-106 road decision to the Warriors on Jan. 29.

After hosting Golden State, the Nets will welcome Milwaukee to Brooklyn on Friday night.

Nic Claxton is getting all the little things done for Brooklyn, allowing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to flourish offensively. AP Photo by Nick Wass

NOTHING BUT NET: The Nets took in Argentina’s thrilling World Cup victory over France Sunday before hitting the hardwood against Detroit. “We’ve been talking all day about the World Cup fnal — what a game that was,” Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said. “Our mission tonight was to be even more exciting.” … Brooklyn will hit the road again Monday, kicking off a three-game trip in Cleveland. … Nets center Nic Claxton had six points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots and got a key tip that wound up in Durant’s hands for a rebound as time expired in Detroit Sunday, earning praise from the future Hall of Famer. “We almost take Nic for granted, but he’s a unique player,” Durant said. “His ability to guard guys on the perimeter with his length adds a new dimension to our team.”

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