Durant Dazzles in Return as Nets Surpass Suns

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Final: 04/25/2021

W 128 119

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Life is good for the Nets with Kevin Durant back in it. 

Durant and Kyrie Irving combined for 67 points to lead the Nets to a 128-119 home victory on Sunday. The win grows their first-place lead to 1.5 games.

The Suns cut Brooklyn’s lead to as little as eight in the closing minutes, but the Nets’ offense reigned supreme as they shot 53.5% from the field on the evening. Kyrie was especially feeling it from distance as he drained five of the team’s 13 three-pointers.

Brooklyn led by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter as the team locked down defensively, but the journey to that moment was a slow build. The Nets trailed by as many as 13 in the first half as the Suns came out firing offensively and capitalized off second chances.

The Nets used a 38-point third quarter to build an edge over the Suns as KD found his groove and got his way to the tune of 33 points off the bench. The Suns shot 47.8% from the field but Brooklyn set the pace on both ends in the fourth quarter to pull away and make each possession count.

Brooklyn held the Suns to 27 fourth-quarter points as they earned the edge through the final three quarters. Devin Booker led the way for Phoenix with 36 points while Deandre Ayton added a double-double.

The Nets handed the Suns just their 18th loss of the year — and Brooklyn has accounted for two of them. To add to the Nets’ chemistry, they put up 30 assists on 46 made field goals compared to just 10 turnovers.

It took a bit for the Nets to get into a rhythm, but Durant looked right at home again and did his thing off the bench. Brooklyn is slowly getting healthier and adding more weapons by the game.

Next up: The Raptors, with an opportunity for revenge, on Tuesday. 

Kyrie Irving

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The stats: 34 PTS, 10-18 FG, 5-7 3PT, 9-9 FT, 6 REB, 12 AST, 3 TO, 35 MIN

Kyrie was hungry to score some buckets.

Kyrie was firing on all cylinders to start the game as he scored 14 of Brooklyn’s first 18 points and missed just one shot in the first half. He continued to pour in the buckets in the second half while recording his third 30-point, 10-assist game of the year.

Kyrie has struggled a bit from the field lately, but he was in sync from the start against the Suns. His three-point shot was a big boost for Brooklyn, who otherwise largely struggled from distance outside Kyrie.

Kevin Durant

A+

The stats: 33 PTS, 12-21 FG, 2-3 3PT, 7-8 FT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 28 MIN

As Ian Eagle said on YES, Kevin Durant is clearly the frontrunner for 10th Man of the Year.

Steve Nash opted to hold KD on the bench until there were eight minutes left in the second quarter, while Durant ended up with his max of 28 minutes on the night. He looked his usual explosive self and he got whatever he wanted on the floor while dropping 33 points in no time.

Nash mentioned after the game that KD could continue to come off the bench as his minutes ramp back up again, and that plan has seemed to work for Brooklyn so far. We know what KD is capable of, but it is great to see him on the court again in his groove.

Blake Griffin

A-

The stats: 16 PTS, 6-9 FG, 2-3 3PT, 2-3 FT, 5 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 27 MIN

Blake Griffin is establishing himself as a key rotation player.

Blake is carving a role for himself off the bench and has more to give with KD on the floor. Brooklyn found success going big with KD, Blake and Jeff Green, bringing to life the possibilities Nets fans hoped for when Blake signed.

Blake created momentum on both ends of the floor and had some great looks to his teammates. Another solid full-effort game from Blake.

Jeff Green

B+

The stats: 10 PTS, 5-11 FG, 0-3 3PT, 5 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 34 MIN

A poster a day keeps the doctor away. 

Uncle Jeff put up two big dunks in the first half and continued to do the little things as the Nets soared ahead in the fourth quarter. He did not have his three-point shot, but Jeff made his presence known in other areas.

Jeff finished with a team-high +13 plus/minus, showing just how impactful he is on both ends of the court. He complements his teammates each night and does the things needed to make sure the team succeeds as a whole. 

Joe Harris

B+

The stats: 10 PTS, 4-10 FG, 1-3 3PT, 1-1 FT, 4 REB, 1 AST, 2 TO, 33 MIN

Joe had some gritty takes to the rim to make the most of his opportunities.

Joe was covered closely from three but was not afraid to take it to the rim, and even grabbing his own offensive boards. He cut through Phoenix’s defense and gave shades of Kyrie’s interior finishes by using the glass.

Joe always shows that he’s a dynamic player, and him adapting was important for Brooklyn to overtake a talented Phoenix team. We know he is capable of more, but he let KD and Kyrie work as he contributed any way he could. 

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