NBA regular season

Durant cruises to 45-point eruption in Nets’ squeaker over Magic

Reuters
Durant cruises to 45-point eruption in Nets’ squeaker over Magic

SCHOOLING. Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) drives to the basket against Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports-Reuters

Kevin Durant schools 2022 NBA top rookie pick Paolo Banchero with a 45-point bomb as the Brooklyn Nets handle the Orlando Magic

Kevin Durant scored a season-high 45 points as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Orlando Magic 109-102 on Monday night in New York.

Durant notched his 63rd career regular-season game with 40 points, and his eighth with the Nets. He shot 19-of-24 from the field, including 8-of-9 in the third quarter when he scored 19 points. He scored Brooklyn’s final seven points of the quarter to give it an 87-76 lead into the fourth.

After Orlando got the lead down to 91-87 on a 3-pointer by Admiral Schofield with 9:10 remaining, Durant returned, hit a 3-pointer and a 13-footer on consecutive possessions to give Brooklyn a 96-88 lead with 7:13 remaining.

Durant also hit two jumpers that put Brooklyn up 104-96 with 2:34 remaining, but the Nets struggled at times the rest of the way.

Bol Bol’s 3-pointer got Orlando within 106-102 with 61 seconds left, but after Franz Wagner missed a 3-pointer with 34.4 seconds left, a dunk by Nic Claxton gave Brooklyn a seven-point lead with 25.4 seconds left.

Kyrie Irving added 20 points and Claxton collected 17 points and 13 rebounds as the Nets shot 54.3 percent, marking the seventh straight game they shot at least 50 percent.

Reserve Joe Harris added a season-high 17 in 36 minutes to help the Nets withstand Ben Simmons exiting with a sore left knee early in the second quarter.

Simmons was scoreless in just over 11 minutes before coming out of the game with 9:03 remaining in the second. Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said after the game that Simmons is day to day.

Rookie Paolo Banchero and Bol scored 24 points apiece as Orlando matched a season high with its fifth straight loss and dropped to 1-7 in its past eight games.

Franz Wagner added 21 points and Gary Harris contributed 19 for Orlando, which shot 47.5 percent and played without Jalen Suggs (ankle), Wendell Carter Jr. (foot) Mo Bamba (back) and Terrence Ross (illness).

After Brooklyn ripped off 11 straight points to erase a nine-point deficit, Orlando countered with a 12-0 run to take a 28-18 lead on Bol’s 3-pointer with 3:14 remaining in the first quarter and ended the period with a 28-23 edge.

Brooklyn forced Orlando to miss its first 11 shots of the second but settled for a 52-51 halftime lead when Irving lost the ball and Banchero flew in for a layup just before the horn. – Rappler.com

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