Durant leads Brooklyn to victory over Pelicans

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Miami (AFP) – Brooklyn overcame New Orleans (108-102) thanks to 33 points from Kevin Durant and a fiery finish from Kyrie Irving after a rough start to Friday’s game in the NBA.

Coming off an impressive 12-game winning streak in Chicago on Wednesday, the Nets trailed by nine points at halftime before turning on the turbo in the third quarter on the Louisiana floor.

Durant also had 10 rebounds to finish 111th in his career with 30+ points and 10+ rebounds.

The Pelicans, without stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, nevertheless put up an aggressive performance. They took a 10-point lead in the first quarter thanks to Naji Marshall’s award-winning basket before outscoring the New York franchise 13-1 early in the second quarter.

In the third, “Nets” took everything into their hands (35-21) and with only 19 points, Irving delivered his people from the buzzer with a basket from 9 meters and 43 seconds, followed by two free throws.

“Even though we didn’t hit well in the beginning and even throughout the game, we kept pushing and it’s a great win,” Durant said.

Brooklyn, second in the Eastern Conference, improves to 26 wins against 13 losses, while the Pelicans, third in the West, are 24-15 after their fifth home loss.

Charlotte, in last place in the East, got off to a fiery start with 51 points in the first quarter to beat Milwaukee (138-109) and tie Golden State’s NBA record against Denver in 2019.

The Hornets relied on Terry Rozier, the author of 39 points, his best performance this season, and managed to beat Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was limited to 9 points on Friday, averaging 32.7 points per game.

Terry Rozier prepares to shoot for Charlotte vs. Milwaukee, Jan. 6, 2023, in Milwaukee © Stacy Revere / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said he was concerned about the similarities in several losses this season.

“We haven’t done what it takes to compete in an NBA game a few times,” he said.

Philadelphia stopped

In the West, the Los Angeles Lakers recorded their fourth straight win, the first this season, with a 130-114 home win against Atlanta.

Denver's Nikola Jokic tries to score between three Cleveland players, Jan. 6, 2023, in Denver.
Denver’s Nikola Jokic tries to score between three Cleveland players, Jan. 6, 2023, in Denver. © MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Still missing the injured Anthony Davis, the Lakers led the team thanks to LeBron James (25 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists), Kendrick Nunn (23 points) and Dennis Schroder (21 points).

In Denver, Nikola Jokic had 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, his 10th triple-double of the season in a 121-108 win over Cleveland despite 22 points from Caris LeVert and 21 points from Darius Garland. Cavaliers who can’t rely on Donovan Mitchell.

The Nuggets, the leader in the Western Conference, have won nine of their last ten games.

Two days after ending the Nets’ winning streak, Chicago went on to end Philadelphia’s run with a 126-112 victory, ending the Sixers’ 11-game home run.

The Bulls were able to rely on the three-pointer of Zach LaVine, who was 11 of 13 from the rocket for a total of 41 points, and a triple-double from Nikola Vucevic (19 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists). A foot injury also ended a 12-game losing streak against Pennsylvania, which was without Joel Embiid.

The New York Knicks won their fourth straight game thanks to Julius Randle’s 32 points and 11 rebounds, beating Toronto (112-108).

“He’s playing really well, full of confidence,” Knicks guard Jalen Brunson said. “It’s fantastic to see him back, he still has a lot to prove to himself and not to others because he can still reach a whole new level.”

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