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Nets rattle off 8th win in 9 games with 112-100 victory over Wizards

Brooklyn Nets v Washington Wizards Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

Another day, another W. That’s starting to be a trend here in the Nets World.

The Brooklyn Nets picked up their 11th win in 14 games Monday with a convincing 112-100 victory over the Washington Wizards. The Nets improved to 17-12 on the season after the win and have so far swept the Wizards, 3-0, in the season series. It was the Wizards’ seventh straight loss and 10th in the last 11 games.

“Favorable schedule being at home for seven of those. Being able to wake up in our own beds and have our own routine at home definitely matters. We also faced a couple of teams that were missing some guys, as well. But for the most part, I liked the brand of basketball we played on both ends of the floor, regardless of who was on the court. We still played our system and we did the things that we wanted to do out there on both ends,” said Durant about winning 8 of 9 games.

“So yeah, I mean, being at home counts. Having everybody back, as well, healthy counts. So we just want to keep plugging away.”

KD led the charge for the Nets with his 15th 30-point game of the season. On top of dropping 30 points, Durant also had nine rebounds, six assists, one block, and one steal.

“His ability to attract attention and for him to still attract all that attention there at the end of the night, you look how efficient he is,” said Jacque Vaughn about Durant’s remarkable performance. “And so his ability to garner double teams, to get to the rim for us when we need to, just overall being able to be at the end of the night an efficient player.”

Kyrie Irving did an excellent job once more as Brooklyn’s No. 2 option, filling up the stat sheet with 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal. He also had some terrific hustle plays down the stretch, diving out of bounds to keep a possession alive, which drew high praise from the head coach.

“We said that to him in the timeout,” said Vaughn about Irving’s hustle plays. “For him to.. and it was a previous rebound also where he ended up tapping one out and going over and just sacrificing his body and just for that play. And so you have guys like that, the leaders on your team, being able to make plays—sacrifice the bodies—it spreads.”

Washington got 20 points from both Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma and Will Barton poured in a team-high 22 points off the bench on 8-of-15 shooting. Porzingis had to leave the game in the third quarter with back soreness. He did not return.

The two squads were nearly even across the board in terms of team statistics, meaning that the Nets, bottom three in rebounding, held their own on the glass. Washington finished just ahead in this category, 44-41.

Brooklyn also shot just 29.6% from three yet won by double-digits, a huge testament to their defense.

“I think we figured out what type of team we want to be on that side of the ball,” said Durant about Brooklyn’s defense. “We continue to keep trusting each other on the offensive end and feed on our defense. We take efficient shots. I think we’re an efficient ballclub on the offensive side of the ball, too, so that helps our defense. But we try to hang our hat on keeping our man in front guarding one-on-one and provide help when needed. So that’s sustainable in any form of basketball.”

Porzingis could not be stopped early, tossing up 10 quick points on a medley of post-ups, many of which came against Markieff Morris, who subbed in early for Nic Claxton. KD was up to the challenge in his DMV hometown, filling up the box score on a couple of floaters and a pair of pull-up threes from the exact same spot on the right wing. After the Nets built a 28-19 lead with three minutes to spare in the first, Washington went on a 6-1 run to close the gap. Brooklyn led 29-25 after one.

Washington erupted out the gates with a 17-7 run in the second quarter. Kyrie was in a different zone, though, dropping 13 points in the quarter to balance things out after the Wizards’ early surge. With that, the Nets led 62-55 at halftime.

Brooklyn tightened up the screws on defense in the third quarter. Active hands flashed into passing lanes to dissuade Washington from getting to the rim, and the Nets punished the Wizards on the other end in transition. Irving and Ben Simmons ran a two-man game that really got going at the top of the second half, as Irving turned his attention to getting Brooklyn’s third star going after handling the scoring load himself in the second. At the end of the third, Brooklyn led, 94-83 and things started looking more comfortable for Brooklyn.

Irving continued to play magnificent all-around basketball in the fourth, first sailing out of bounds to tip a defensive rebound to his teammates and then flying into the first round to save the ball and generate a Nets fastbreak.

Claxton also began to look like himself at the end of the fourth after starting off a little slow in his first game back from a hamstring strain. He had two blocks in the quarter, including a nasty one in which he pinned Corey Kispert’s layup off the glass and then snarled at him while running ahead on offense. Brooklyn’s bolstered defense held the Wizards to just 17 points in the quarter, and the Nets cruised to their 17th victory of the season.

Durant admitted post-game that the Nets were aware that the game could have been a trap game, just that Saturday’s game was a trap game for the Pacers.

“We talked about this being a trap game,” he noted. “We played a trap game last game against Indiana where they might’ve came in against us and relaxed a bit and our young guys came in and won that game. We didn’t want to make that same mistake.”

KD and Kyrie offer praise for Jacque Vaughn

Both Kevin Durant and Kyrie were asked about the job Jacque Vaughn has done since taking over 22 games ago. Both offered succinct and positive appraisals.

“Jacque has done an amazing job making adjustments throughout the game.” said KD. “I’ve liked the brand of basketball we’ve played regardless of who is on the court.”

“You’ll see in the future, we’ll make some changes on the fly with different lineups, guys playing harder. Jacque’s made it very clear that if you’re not playing hard enough, he’s gonna let you know about it,”

And Joe Tsai praises Kyrie

Milestone Watch

With his 33 minutes tonight, Kevin Durant is the first player to play at least 1,000 minutes.

In NBA history, only 3 players have averaged 30+ points a game on 65% true shooting:

- Steph Curry

- Adrian Dantley

- Kevin Durant (so far this season)

Indy heroes sit

Two of Saturday night’s heroes didn’t get on the court Monday. Patty Mills, who scored 24 in the Nets 136-133 win, didn’t play. Nor did Day’Ron Sharpe who had 20 points and 12 rebounds also sat. Cam Thomas, who scored 33 in Indianapolis, played 19 minutes and scored five points.

Kyrie Irving speaks on Brittney Griner

Kyrie Irving was asked for his thoughts on WNBA star Brittney Griner’s release, who came home to the United States last week after a prisoner exchange with Russia. Irving had been outspoken about the release of Griner on numerous occasions, most famously at the Barclays Center before the preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I appreciate us being able to share this floor together, all of us as brothers. But the big picture that’s going on in the world is free our sister, Brittney Griner,” Irving said on October 20 prior to Griner’s release. “Please, POTUS, do your job. Everybody do your job. Please bring our sister home. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs to the best of our ability if we didn’t stand for what we believe in.”

Here was Irving’s response on Monday, four days after the WNBA star came home, a message that largely resembled his tweet from Thursday.

“I’m grateful she’s home. I’m grateful she’s with her family. Most importantly, humanity comes first. We all feel for her. We all feel for her and feel for everyone who is wrongfully imprisoned or in some prison” somewhere where they haven’t gotten their justice. We feel for her for sure,” said Irving. I’m just grateful we all can share in the celebration with her being here. Still more work to do out in the world.”

As Sponge Bob might say...

What’s next

The Nets enjoy a nice four-day layoff before heading to Toronto for the fourth meetup of the season with the Raptors. Coverage begins at 7:30 PM EST on the YES Network.

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