Kevin Durant’s 34-point double-double leads the Nets to fourth in a row, beating the Sixers, 114-105

Do four in a row for the exhausted Nets, two for Kevin and the kids.

It was another close game at Barclays Center but in the end the Nets won, beating the Sixers, 114-105 Thursday. With the victory, Brooklyn improves to 21-8 over the season and remains perfect against his compatriots in the Atlantic division (5-0).

“I think the spirit was exceptional. These guys play for each other, play the right way and stick with it, ”said Steve Nash of the recent winning streak. “The first quarter was crucial to jump and play such good basketball, set the tone, create some separation and also have a good second quarter. They gave us that space to have a few second-half patches that didn’t sink us. Resilience, wit, and a lot of good basketball mixed in there as well. “

Despite a 20-point lead in the second, Brooklyn left the door open for Philadelphia and the Sixers came out strong in the fourth to make it a game. With the game tied at 103, Kevin Durant had a three and added a free throw for a four-point play. Then, with Philly focusing on KD, Blake Griffin was left wide open and he hit three of his own right wings to forge a 7-0 run, putting Brooklyn at seven with 1:13 to go. After two free throws from David Duke Jr. – the second time in two games he hit crucial free kicks at the end of the game, Durant froze the game with a fade jumper on Joel Embiid.

“I love to play, I love to be there,” Durant said. “The challenge of winning is fun for me. So it doesn’t matter who’s on the pitch we want to play to win.

Durant finished with a near triple-double: a record 34 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in 39 minutes of action. The only member of the “Big Three” available to Steve Nash, KD shot 13 of 24 from the field and 2 of 3 from three points. The performance marked his fourth straight game over 30 points and his 13th this season (a league-high). In his last three games, Durant has scored 119 points, averaging 39.7 points.

“It’s definitely not something you can take for granted. I think he’s the GOAT. He plays for us, trusts us, and he just does the job, ”said Nicolas Claxton. “Playing a lot of minutes also on the offensive side and the defensive side. I don’t think he has enough credit on the defensive – he’s really active there, you know, he blocks, steals. So he’s really cool right now.

Claxton and Blake Griffin put in their best offensive performances of the young season in the win. Claxton finished with a season-high 17 points on 8 of 9 shots from the field, to go with two rebounds in 22 minutes of play.

“I think he’s so long and athletic, able to go around the basket and finish on top of people, but I think he also improved in his finish compared to people when he gets small dropouts. or offensive rebounds, ”Nash said of Claxton’s growth. “He’s able to go up and finish, competition opportunities there that haven’t been so successful in the past. It developed here. He has more confidence in himself. It has more strength and it also finishes better in painting.

Griffin recorded his own season-high 17 points to accompany nine rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes. He also took on two charges, tying him to Kyle Lowry for the main league despite his limited playing time over the past two weeks.

The Brooklyn rookies had a quiet exit on the box score, but their fingerprints were all over the victory. Cam Thomas was the highest man with 11 points – all in the first half – on 3 of 6 shots from the field and 2 of 2 of 3 in 25 minutes on the bench. Kessler Edwards finished with nine points, seven rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes, giving him a two-game average of 13 points and 8.5 rebounds in 35.5 minutes. David Duke Jr. had six points, four rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes while Day’Ron Sharpe had five rebounds with three points in 13 minutes.

“For me, tenacity. They played hard, played physically and they weren’t afraid, ”said the Nets head coach in Thursday night’s rookie game. “The most important thing we’ve tried to instill in them is that we want you to develop. We want to teach. We want to give you the opportunity to make mistakes, but also to be yourself and to be free, to play basketball well and we believe in you. Watching them accept this challenge and meet it physically and mentally has been amazing. “

The exhausted Nets went with the same starting five they used on Tuesday night against the Raptors – Duke Jr., Durant, Griffin, Claxton and Patty Mills. There were a lot of goals at the start and not a lot of defense. Both teams scored their first four shots and climbed the scoreboard in the opening minutes. The Nets got Joel Embiid moving early, giving Claxton opportunities he made the most of. He led the Nets early, scoring seven of the Nets’ first 17 points, followed by Mills with six as Brooklyn took a 17-16 advantage with 6:52 left in the first. Brooklyn increased its lead to eight in a 10-2 run after the timeout.

The Nets were the first to finish with a 39-25 lead, led by Durant with 10 points in 12 minutes, followed by Claxton with nine points and Thomas with eight points in six minutes off the bench.

Philadelphia narrowed the deficit early in the second, but Brooklyn’s offense stayed warm to maintain the double-digit advantage for the game’s biggest lead; 20 points with 4:26 remaining in the frame. And then Embiid took over for Philadelphia, reducing it to 10 on a 9-0 run, but the momentum didn’t last long.

The Nets responded with a 12-4 run to hit the break with an 18-point lead, 66-48 (the second-largest halftime lead this season for the team). The 66 points scored at halftime also equaled the Nets’ best offensive production.

Brooklyn had three double-digit players at halftime – Durant (15), Claxton (11) and Thomas (11), and the offense shot 54.3% from the field and 63.6% at three. points. Additionally, the rebound margin was in favor of Brooklyn, 28-20.

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler / NBAE via Getty Images

For the second game in a row, the Nets got off to a sloppy start to the third. Philadelphia had Brooklyn numbered early in the third, forging a 15-5 streak to reduce the deficit to eight with 7:50 to go. Although Durant responded for Brooklyn, helped by key rookie games to bring the advantage back to double digits. Still, the door has remained open for the Sixers.

In fact, Philadelphia managed to cut the deficit to two points before the last minute of the third, but couldn’t get past the top. Brooklyn reached the fourth quarter of play with a six-point lead (85-79) – breaking a five-game streak behind after three quarters of play.

After completing three quarters with seven turnovers, Brooklyn returned the ball six times in less than four minutes of play in the fourth, allowing Philadelphia to reduce the deficit to one point (92-91) with 8:18 to go.

“I thought in the third it was a combination of we were a bit flat and also we just didn’t convert,” Nash said. “I think we created some good opportunities in the third which we missed: a few lay-ups, a few open looks. We were missing out on good opportunities and they would drop and get buckets and sometimes that’s how the game goes. We had a patch there where we flipped it over and they went down and got lay-ups and then the lead was almost gone.

The Nets had three consecutive offensive fouls on the defensive end, two by Griffin, and took advantage offensively, bringing the lead to five. The Sixers tied the score at 101 with three minutes to go before Durant’s heroism put him away.

It was Brooklyn’s fourth consecutive victory, its 11th in the last 14 and its 19th in the last 24. The Nets are now 6-0 against opponents in the Atlantic Division this season.

The cinema room

The first half against Philadelphia was Nicolas Claxton’s best attacking half of his career, bar none.

Claxton finished with 11 points on a perfect 5v5 shooting line, with a pretty exceptional defense against Joel Embiid on the other end. But we do know what Clax does as a defender, so let’s get down to the fun stuff.

The Nets threw Nic early after the Sixers traded a pick-and-roll of David Duke Jr. and Blake Griffin, giving Blake the gap with Seth Curry. Griffin supported Curry, turned, and gave a wonderful read to Clax, who gladly slammed him home.

Things really started to get fun when Joel Embiid dubbed Kevin Durant – out of Claxton. In response, Clax dove into the paint for deep positioning. Durant passed to the Open Claxton, and Nic calmly finished with a magnificent recovery shot – a shot he likely would have missed last season. Remember, Boston repeatedly plotted to pass the Brooklyn stars to get the ball into Claxton’s hands, and that was a viable strategy – and pretty much the only strategy that worked for Boston in the series. first round.

“My confidence is already pretty high, but going out there and being that good on the attacking end is definitely good for my confidence,” Claxton said. “The teams, if they want to keep keeping KD like this (and as a doubles team), I’m going to keep making plays for myself and my team. So it’s just getting a feel for the game and going over there and playing and letting the game come to me and not forcing anything.

Later, the Nets got Claxton yet another wide open dunk by performing “double drag,” a semi-transition set with two screeners (Patty Mills and Nicolas Claxton). The Nets had led this set previously with the handling of James Harden and the projection of Nicolas Claxton and Kevin Durant. But with the cast limited, it was time for KD to shine as the leader of the ball.

Perhaps Claxton’s best bucket came after Kevin Durant was on a double-team. But this time it was KD managing atop the Key and the Sixers were sending the Claxton man to overtake. Durant passed to Claxton and Nic took two dribbles, spun and hit a beautiful hook. Even without being hyperbolic, it was the best end of Claxton’s career. (The short reads have been a … source of heartache for Claxton in his young NBA career.)

But Thursday, and perhaps for Thursday only (we’ll see), it was a force.

Galloway gets minutes

Langston Galloway, signed earlier Thursday with one difficulties exception, ended up playing after all. He finished with nine minutes, playing in both halves, hitting a three in the first. Galloway, a 6’2 “combo guard, last played for the Suns last season.

And after

Brooklyn will return to the field on Saturday, December 18 when the team hosts the Magic at Barclays Center. The game is scheduled to switch at 7:30 p.m. ET.

For a different perspective on Thursday’s game against Philadelphia, check out Ballerinas of Liberty – our sister site covering the Sixers.

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