Seven straight. The Brooklyn Nets are officially on the longest active winning streak in the NBA.
The Nets took down the Golden State Warriors, 143-113, for the most convincing win of the season. The Nets now sit at 20-12, fourth in the Eastern Conference, after taking down the shorthanded Golden State Warriors, who were without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Donte DiVincenzo, and JaMychal Green.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s the Warriors,” said Kevin Durant. “You always respect them no matter who is on the floor. They have a championship system, championship players. Even though Steph, Klay, Wiggins are out, those guys had a next-up mentality. Just come out there and play so you can’t take them lightly, and I think we did a good job of staying focused to start.”
The Nets were led by Durant (who else?), who had 23 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals in only 29 minutes, his lightest load this season. Otherwise, Brooklyn had a fairly democratic scoring approach, with nine players reaching double figures and another (Markieff Morris) with nine points.
“That’s what basketball is to me,” said Ben Simmons. “Guys sharing the ball, us getting the best shot we can every time down, and then trusting each other.”
James Wiseman led the way for Golden State with 30 points off the bench, and Patrick Baldwin Jr. hit 5 three-pointers for 17 points in 23 minutes as well.
Brooklyn destroyed Golden State in three-pointers made, 21-12, and scored 25 fastbreak points to the Warriors’ 10. For more team stats on this historic night, head down to the Milestone Watch section.
The Nets were not playing around to start this one. Brooklyn was impactful across the board, missing just one shot out of 10 in the first six minutes of play. Joe Harris and Royce O’Neale lit it up from three with five combined makes (out of six attempts) in the first. Ben Simmons was impactful on both ends, setting up shooters like Harris and O’Neale en route to six first-quarter assists while smothering Jordan Poole on the other end. Poole was 4-of-17 overall, 1-of-11 from deep, and a -31 plus/minus. Brooklyn finished ahead 46-17 after one period of play.
The Nets didn’t let up in the second quarter. Brooklyn followed up its 46-point first quarter with 45 points in the second period of play. Kevin Durant scored 11 points in the final five minutes of play to lead his Nets as the young Golden State struggled with its defensive coverages. Brooklyn entered halftime up 91-51.
“Wow. Nicely done,” said Jacque Vaugh about the Nets’ halftime advantage. “That’s what happens when you come to work and you’re ready to work from the beginning.
Golden State chipped away at the lead slightly in the third quarter. They outscored the Nets 28-18 and ended the quarter on an 8-2 run. The Dubs then put together a 15-2 run in the fourth and got Brooklyn’s lead all the way down to 18, but then T.J. Warren and Markieff Morris hit back-to-back threes to build the advantage up to 24. The Nets tacked on to that lead, finishing the game ahead by 30 points at the sound of the final buzzer.
“I think we used the word professionalism and being mature to play the game tonight, and I think that was the first piece of it,” said Jacque Vaughn. “Our approach was pretty good, especially the first quarter after the last two games, and 42 assists. Being able to spray the ball around, share that thing, play for each other, find each other early really carried us through the rest of the game.”
Lock in, folks. We’re in for a doozy.
- First quarter: Brooklyn’s 46 points were the most points scored in a first quarter in franchise history. The 29-point advantage over Golden State was the second-largest in franchise history and is the biggest positive point differential in any quarter this NBA season.
- First half: Brooklyn’s 91 points at halftime were the most points scored in any half in franchise history; they were the third-most points scored in any half in the shot-clock era (behind Golden State in 2018 and Denver in 1990). The 40-point lead at halftime is also the biggest lead in franchise history, and it was the biggest halftime lead against a defending NBA champion in NBA history. Lastly, the Nets’ 23 assists and 11 threes made were also season-highs for any half.
- Third quarter: Brooklyn’s 109 points were the most points scored through three quarters this season. The 30-point lead over the Warriors was also a season-high through three periods of play.
And now for some milestones at the final buzzer...
- Brooklyn’s 21 threes made was a season-high, and 10 players made at least one three-pointer.
- The Nets recorded 42 assists on 54 made field goals. This is the most assists posted by a team in any game this season, and those 42 dimes tied the third-most assists in a game in franchise history. It was also the most assists recorded in a game for the Nets since 1994.
- Brooklyn is on a seven-game win streak, which is the longest active streak in the NBA. It’s also the Nets’ longest win streak since February 2021. The Nets have won 11 of their last 12 games and 9 of their last 10 home games.
- Brooklyn matched a franchise record with nine rotation players reaching double figures. The last time Nets reached this feat was in January 2021.
- Finally, there’s this: KD could pass Tim Duncan and move into 15th place on the all-time scoring list as early as Friday night. He’s now only 36 points behind the “Big Fundamental,” 24,496 to 24,460. Durant has scored that many points in seven games already this season. As SB Nation pointed out Wednesday, some good fortune and KD could get to No. 10 spot this season, passing Duncan, Dominique Wilkins, Oscar Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes, and Moses Malone before April 9, the final day of the regular season.
Kevin Durant on (the lack) of Nets’ Christmas Day game
The Nets do not have a Christmas Day game for the first time since Kevin Durant made his Nets debut in December 2020. Durant was asked about Brooklyn’s lack of scheduling, to which he replied...
“Knicks-Nets would’ve been a great Christmas Day matchup.”
It’s true. Prior to tonight, the Knicks were on a league-best 8-game win streak before losing to the Toronto Raptors on the back end of a back-to-back. The Nets, meanwhile, are pacing the league with 7-straight victories, as mentioned.
Let’s address the elephant in the room, though. Durant himself is the main reason his squad is not playing on Christmas Day. His summer trade request to Sean Marks and Joe Tsai added a great deal of uncertainty over Brooklyn’s 2022-23 season. Durant had not yet rescinded that trade request at the time that the NBA produced the season schedule, solidifying Brooklyn’s fate on Christmas Day.
Kudos to Durant, though. He acknowledged this predicament head-on with a truly hilarious response.
“I feel like that would be the perfect matchup on Christmas,” said Durant about the Knicks-Nets matchup. “Hopefully, we get that going forward. But yeah, I’m probably responsible for us not planning on Christmas with what went on this summer. But hey, it is what it is. We play on the 26th, that’s close enough.”
He’s right. Though it’s on the 26th of December, a game against Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers—who sit third in the Eastern Conference—isn’t a bad consolation prize.
Here’s a video of the whole exchange:
Video of this quote and the full exchange: pic.twitter.com/aXHLhORlGD— Matt Brooks (@MattBrooksNBA) December 22, 2022
As Durant mentioned while walking out of the press room, he wasn’t too upset about having Christmas Day off for what feels like the first time in his career. And who can blame him?!
Kevin Durant vs. Draymond Green ... again
You can google Kevin Durant and Draymond Green if you like, but know this: their relationship going back to their days as teammates in Golden State is checkered. So this confrontation shouldn’t be surprising, but like everything else, it’s entertaining...
Draymond and KD talking trash and Kyrie gets involved from the bench. Dray yells at Kyrie “I’M SORRY KAI, MY FAULT KAI”— TheWarriorsTalk (@TheWarriorsTalk) December 22, 2022
Did Steve Kerr diss Jacque Vaughn?
Steve Kerr didn’t like how the Nets jettisoned Steve Nash and said so, calling Nash both a “good friend” and a “brilliant coach.” So when asked about the Nets’ success under Jacque Vaughn (now 18-7 since he was elevated first as interim, then as permanent head coach), he ascribed the change not to Vaughn but to the Nets' good health.
“It’s not a surprise to me that he’s doing well and that the team is doing well because it’s really been a matter of health,” Kerr said pre-game. “Things seem to have settled down and they’ve gotten healthy. Not a surprise that they’re clicking, but Jacque deserves credit for helping them get through the storm.”
It seemed like a diss, suggesting that circumstances and not Vaughn’s coaching skills were the big reason for the turnabout. Vaughn, of course, is also very different than Nash. His voice seems to have gotten through to his team despite the noise of various controversies. He now has a host of numbers to prove it.
Steve Kerr offers Kevin Durant a chance at history
Kevin Durant has won three Olympic golds—in London, Rio de Janiero, and Tokyo. No one has ever won four in men’s basketball, but Steve Kerr, Team USA’s head coach, wants him to try in Paris a year and a half from now.
“That would be nice,” said Kerr, who joked pre-game that he’d “most likely pull him aside tonight” to make a recruiting pitch. “I mean, he’s been so dominant with Team USA and like I said, he’s a guy who just, he loves to play. So we’re hoping he decides to keep going.”
KD didn’t dismiss the idea, saying only it’s too early to make that decision. He’ll be 36 in 2024.
Kerr added that he doesn’t think Durant has changed that much from his days in Golden State when the Warriors went to three straight Finals before Durant blew out his Achilles in Game 5 of the 2019 Finals when Golden State lost to Toronto.
“He’s been one of the best players in the league for a decade. Maybe more. So he’s just one of the great scorers of all-time, He’s a phenomenal shooter, he can get any shot he wants. He’s the same guy,” said Kerr pre-game. “So he doesn’t look any different to me now than he did a few years ago when he was playing with us.”
Kyrie Irving out
The Nets came close to a three-year goal, a clean injury report, the last-minute scratch of Kyrie Irving ended the possibility. Irving felt calf tightness in shooting around on arrival at Barclays and after consultations with the team training staff, the Nets opted to put him on the bench for the evening.
“It just came after, he did some shooting a little bit earlier when he arrived and then came to me and said he experienced a little bit of tightness and so want to get him checked out a little bit,” said Vaughn.
Otherwise, everyone is healthy and the hope for a clean injury report remains. Irving will be re-evaluated Thursday to see if he can play Friday vs. Milwaukee.
As Sponge Bob might say...
Brooklyn stays home to host the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. Coverage begins at 7:30 PM EST on NBA TV. The Nets are now the fourth seed in the East, two and a half games behind the Bucks.
For a different perspective of tonight’s game, head to Golden State Of Mind, our Warriors sister site.
- Box Score: Brooklyn Nets 143, Golden State Warriors 113 - NBA
- Game Highlights: Brooklyn Nets 143, Golden State Warriors 113 (Video) - NBA
- Nets Score Franchise Record 91 PTS in First Half (Video) - NBA
- O’Neale on Nets’ win vs. Warriors (Video) - Meghan Triplett - YES Network
- Vaughn on dominant Nets’ win (Video) - YES Network
- Ben Simmons talks postgame (Video) - YES Network
- Kevin Durant on Nets’ win over Golden State (Video) - YES Network
- Joe Harris on the Nets’ offense vs. Warriors (Video) - YES Network
- Jacque Vaughn on Gregg Popovich, coaching (Video) - YES Network
- Nets score 91 in 1st half, wallop weary Warriors 143-113 - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Nets make first-half history en route to drubbing of Warriors - Reuters
- Kevin Durant leads balanced Nets to blowout win over shorthanded Warriors - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving sidelined with right-calf tightness - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Nets, minus Kyrie Irving, romp past Golden State with 91-point first half - Denis P. Gorman - Newsday
- Kyrie Irving out for Nets against Golden State with right calf tightness - Denis P. Gorman - Newsday
- Nets blow out Warriors, extend winning streak to 7 as Milwaukee awaits - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic
- Ben Simmons’ next step is a basketball equation, says Jacque Vaughn - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Jacque Vaughn more responsible for Nets success than Steve Kerr says - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Kevin Durant says no decision on playing for Team USA in 2024 Olympics .. yet - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Steve Kerr Speaks on Kevin Durant’s Success With Nets: ‘He’s The Same Guy’ - Chris Milholen - Sports Illustrated
- Let The Games Begin: Kevin Durant Non-Committal On Last Team USA Ride At 2024 Paris Olympics - Chris Milholen - Sports Illustrated
- We’ll Know More About How Much The Nets Have Improved In Next Two Matchups - Steve Lichtenstein - Steve’s Newsletter
- Nets make history with 91-point first-half explosion vs. Warriors as they claim seventh straight victory - Sam Quinn - CBS Sports
- Warriors finish horrid trip with epic 143-113 loss to Brooklyn - C.J. Holmes - San Francisco Chronicle