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In another big win, Nets run away from the Clippers in fourth quarter, 110-95

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Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

To say this was a satisfying win would be an understatement.

In the first game of their four-game West Coast trip, the Nets exploded in the fourth quarter and beat the Clippers, 110-95, led by ... Seth Curry. Curry had 14 of his 22 points in the fourth. That was 12 more than Kevin Durant who kept Brooklyn in the game with 25 points in the first three quarters!

The Nets have now won four of their last five games and are 6-7 with a chance to get to .500 Sunday vs. the Lakers.

It was a back-and-forth contest until midway through the fourth with the Clippers trying a variety of defenses against KD including what looked like a flying wedge.

With 6;55 left in the fourth quarter, the Nets and Clippers were tied at 86, then Curry simply took over and the Nets went on a 15-0 run, ultimately finishing 24-9, hitting 13-of-19 overall including 6-of-10 from deep. Curry who was 0-4 from deep at that point, hit his last four three’s.

It wasn’t just offense. The Nets held Paul George to no points — zero, nada, zip, zilch — in the fourth. For the game, George was 5-of-21, 1-of-6 from deep.

“We dedicated our energy and effort on the defensive end, which was special,” Jacque Vaughn said. “Hopefully this group is feeling it: Shot-clock violations, blocked shots, helping each other. That piece of it has to be contagious.”

“It’s been beautiful the way we’ve been defending,” added Nic Claxton. “Everybody, we’re all connected. We’re helping each other cover for each other.”

Indeed, Vaughn’s squad has now held opponents to fewer than 97 points over five straight games, the same five that Kyrie Irving has missed. Over that stretch the Nets are the league’s best defensive squad...

Curry talked post-game about how he and Durant countered the Clippers D which included what looked like a 3-on-1 flying wedge.

“Me and K had a little hot pick-and-roll going,” said Curry. “They switch it, K’s got a mismatch, sometimes they’re indecisive on what they want to do. So, got to be aggressive. … It’s a fun way to play,” said Curry, adding the defense was the key.

“Everything [is working] for us right now. We’re playing as a team, communicating on both ends of the floor. Our defense has been really good because everyone’s helping each other.”

It wasn’t just Curry and Durant. Claxton had another double-double with 13 points, a career high 14 rebounds as well as three blocks. It was his fifth double-double of the season, one more than he had all of last season. Edmond Sumner who scored nine points in the first, just as he did Wednesday, finished with 11 points. Royce O’Neale had 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal.

Tsai: Kyrie Irving ‘still has work to do’

The Clippers game was Game 5 of the Nets’ suspension of Kyrie Irving, the minimum he’ll be out, but he won’t be back vs. the Lakers on Sunday night. Jacque Vaughn said that before the game Saturday afternoon. And while Irving, the Nets, the NBA and NBPA are working on a solution to get him back on the court, Joe Tsai told Brian Lewis mid-game that things remain fluid.

Tsai was referring to the conditions the Nets laid out for his return. Tsai also had this to say about an Irving return in his exclusive talk with Lewis.

“He has to show people that he’s sorry,” Tsai added. “What’s important — and what people miss — is he only apologized after he was suspended.”

Jaylen Brown of the Celtics who like Irving is a member of the NBPA found Tsai’s comment problematic...

How soon will Irving be back? No indication. The Nets play the Lakers Sunday, the Kings on Tuesday and the Trailblazers Thursday before returning home Sunday vs. Memphis.

Meanwhile, YES Network’s Frank Isola said prior to the game that some people are suggesting that the Nets might deal Irving on his return. Isola argued that the Nets are playing better without Irving despite his near 30-point average before he was suspended Isola is not the first pundit to suggest that.

Two days ago, Zach Lowe suggested on ESPN that the summertime rumors of Irving to the Lakers might come roaring back. He cited LeBron’s comment that Irving “should be able to play.”

“And with LeBron’s comments about Kyrie… Look, I don’t know why LeBron said what he said about Kyrie yesterday. About how it’s time to bring him back in the league,” Lowe said.

“Maybe he just said it because he believes and there’s nothing else to it. I can tell you around the league and even within the Lakers, some corners of it, those comments were read as LeBron opening the door to… At least opening the door to ‘Hey, if you all are comfortable with it and all the blowback it would be, and the Nets are willing to just get out of the business now of Kyrie Irving so we can get him for much cheaper, not both picks, maybe one pick…”

However, post-game, Kevin Durant stated clearly that he hopes to see Irving back on the court with the Nets soon. Durant said he’s been in touch with Irving:

“His spirits is high. Looking forward to playing the game. So hopefully all this stuff is over with and we can move past it and get him back on the floor soon,” said Durant who essentially noted that the issue is above the players’ pay grade

“That’s been out of our control. And as players we try to lock in on the game, practices,” Durant said. “So we just try to lock in and whenever that figures itself out, it will. That’s over a lot of our heads right now so we just got to control what we can.

On SNL, Dave Chappelle takes on Kyrie Irving

Another week, another reference to Kyrie Irving on Saturday Night Live. Last week, Irving was featured on SNL’s Weekend Update. This week, it was comedian Dave Chappelle who mentioned Irving in his monologue.

“Kanye got in so much trouble Kyrie got in trouble. Kyrie Irving posted a link of to a movie he seen on Amazon. No caption on the post or nothing like that, but apparently this movie had Anti-Semitic tropes...and the NBA told him he should apologize and he was slow to apologize. The list of demands to get back into their good graces got longer and longer and this is where I draw the line. I know the Jewish people have been through terrible things all over the world, but you can’t blame that on Black Americans.”

Chappelle also took a shot at Irving’s fondness for conspiracy theories, saying that Irving “was nowhere near the Holocaust — in fact, he’s not even certain it existed.”

It never ends.

Milestone Watch

With his 25th point near the end of the third quarter, Kevin Durant has now scored 25+ points in each of the first 13 games of the season. The 13-game streak is the longest streak of 25-point games for a player at any point in a season in franchise history.

Here’s the list of players in the last 55 years to score 25+ points in each of their team’s first 13 games of a season:

Michael Jordan - 1988-89 (16 straight)

Kevin Durant - 2022-23 (13 straight - active)

Michael Jordan - 1987-88 (13 straight)

Of course if you got back more than 55 years, you run into Wilt Chamberlain who started his historic (50.4 points a game over 82 games) 1961-62 season with 80 straight 25+ games. Good luck with matching that!

As Sponge Bob might say…

What’s Next?

The Nets stay overnight in the City of Angels overnight and will play the Lakers at 9:30 p.m. ET, also at Arena. A win would give the Nets a .500 record at 7-7. Will KD play in the back-to-back. Jacque Vaughn said he doesn’t know yet, but noted that you feel physically better after a win.

For a different perspective, go to our Clippers sister site, ClipsNation.