clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kevin Durant drops 39 points, Nets take care of business against Wizards, 113-107

Washington Wizards v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets are a winning basketball team.

Brooklyn improved to 12-11 on the season by taking down the Washington Wizards for the second time this season. The Nets are currently on a three-game win streak after the victory and are undefeated to start the seven-game homestand. Plus, Brooklyn is officially 10-6 since Jacque Vaughn took over the head coaching reigns after the dismal 2-5 start to the season.

“Something to celebrate,” said Kyrie Irving about the Nets finally going over .500. “Something definitely not to take for granted. A lot of hard work to get to this point. Total team effort.”

Kevin Durant led the pack for the Nets once again with 39 points on 13-of-20 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. This is the fourth-straight game that Durant has put up at least 30 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Kyrie Irving also pitched in with 27 points on a 9-of-21 shooting night, plus 5 assists. His fourth-quarter scoring was huge for the Nets, who built a nine-point advantage with KD on the bench.

“I’m just playing carefree basketball. I mean, I think that’s the best way to play. Sometimes when you want to win too much, you get in your own way. You distract yourself a bit. You’re worried about the results too much,” said Kevin Durant. “I’m trying to stay mentally above everything and just keep grinding out every single possession. Every rep means something to me, so I gotta stick with that.”

“The ball is not going into the rim as often as I would like still,” said Irving about his performance. “21 attempts, you know, I would like to cut that down to maybe 9-for-12 or 9-for-13. Just being efficient with opportunities I get but still staying aggressive.”

Joe Harris followed up his season-high 17-point outing against the Magic with another solid showing: 14 points on 4-of-6 from deep, including a huge 3-pointer with three minutes remaining to help his Nets get across the finish line. Harris also had three steals.

“Tonight he came I let it fly with confidence and was able to get some great defensive plays for us as well,” said Durant about Harris. “You know, defense ties into the offense so when you get stops, you can get out and run, get some easy buckets. That’s why we’re with Joe and we’re confident that he’ll keep shooting with confidence.”

Washington was led by their three-headed monster: Kyle Kuzma (25 points), Brad Beal (25 points), and Kristaps Porzingis (27 points).

Unsurprisingly, the Wizards took advantage of the undersized Nets, who were without frontcourt players Ben Simmons (calf), Day’Ron Sharpe (non-COVID illness), and Yuta Watanabe (hamstring.) Washington beat the Nets on the boards, 51-35, and dominated inside the paint, scoring 58 points to the Nets’ 32.

“Yeah, that’s always gonna be a problem for us,” said Vaughn about the Nets rebounding. “And we know it. And before the game, we showed last time they played us, how they got offensive rebounds. We’ll continue to show our guys—it’s not only a mindset, but it’s the ability to have contact on those possessions. And sometimes you go up and you think, ‘Okay, I can get this thing.’ You might be better off just boxing out and let someone else get it. So we can get those habits of just finding contact with every single play, it’ll help us.”

The Nets made up for the deficit by bombing away from three (42.3%). The Wizards’ free-throw shooting (67.6% from the line) also played a massive role in the outcome. Shoutout to Mr. Whammy!

Durant picked up right where he left off against Orlando. He dropped 16 points in the first quarter on 6-of-9 shooting, which was the most points scored by a Net in any first quarter to start the season. Behind KD’s hot start, the Nets led 29-28 after the first quarter.

Things stayed fairly close between both squads to start the second quarter. The Nets leaned into point-guard Royce O’Neale, who responded with four early assists. Harris also pitched in with 11 early points on 3-of-4 from deep, including a beautiful catch-and-shoot after ghosting a screen for Durant. Brooklyn entered halftime ahead by a small margin, 57-53.

Porzingis led the charge for the Wizards in the third with six points in the first six minutes of play, and his Wizards eventually whittled Brooklyn’s advantage down the bone. Both teams were tied up with three minutes to spare at 70 apiece. Kevin Durant then took over to finish the third with 8 points in the final three minutes to give his Nets the 80-77 advantage heading into the fourth.

Brooklyn finally stretched its lead in the fourth. Kyrie Irving erupted for 8 points in five points to give Brooklyn a nine-point margin of error. Kevin Durant picked up the slack for his co-star after checking in at the 7-minute mark with six more points. In the final three minutes, O’Neale secured two huge offensive rebounds, both of which led to threes—one from Irving, and one from Harris—to grow the Nets’ lead to 11. Despite a slight scare at the end of the fourth, Brooklyn cruised across the finish line for their twelfth victory of the season.

Milestone Watch

Kevin Durant (39 points, five rebounds, five assists) has recorded 30/5/5 in each of his last four games, matching a career-best streak. He previously recorded 30/5/5 in four straight games in December 2021, November 2018 and March 2016.

KD will get a chance to break the franchise record of five straight vs. the Raptors Friday night. He’s currently tied for the record. The longest streaks with 30+ points, five or more rebounds and five or more assists in franchise history:

  • 4 straight - Kevin Durant - active
  • 4 straight - Kevin Durant - December 2021
  • 4 straight - James Harden - December 2021 - January 2022

Durant has now made 44 of his last 64 shots, a 68.8% pace over three games. When he was asked if he’s ever had a stretch like this, he responded: “Yeah.”

KD and Kyrie looking forward to T.J. Warren return

On Friday night, T.J. Warren is expected to return to action Friday vs. the Raptors, his first game since December 29, 2020. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both spoke post-game about their hopes for him.

Durant said he doesn’t want to put “too much high expectations on TJ Warren” adding, “I’m happy for him. He’s been away from the game for so long.”

“I’m just excited that he gets to prove himself to our fans, prove himself to himself, most importantly that he’s able to still be a top player in our league and help a winning team, especially one that’s trying to win a championship so I’m excited,” said Irving.

Durant, Irving and Warren are the only three players on the roster who’ve scored 50+ points in an NBA game. Warren scored 53 points in the NBA “Bubble” in August 2020.

As Sponge Bob might say

What’s next

The Nets stay home to host the Toronto Raptors on Friday at 7:30 PM EST. Brooklyn is 2-0 against Toronto in the season series. Coverage begins on the YES Network.

For a different perspective on tonight’s game, head to Bullets Forever, our Wizards sister site.