Durant Leads Second-Half Comeback in Victory Over Nuggets


Final: 01/12/2021

W 122 116

Offense kept Brooklyn alive against the Nuggets, but it was defense that sealed the deal.

A high-scoring contest in Brooklyn on Tuesday saw the Nets pull out a 122-116 victory against the Nuggets. Kevin Durant was instrumental down the stretch as he totaled 34 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds on the night.

Many of Brooklyn’s recent problems initially persisted in a first half where the Nets were out-played. Thanks to poor defense, turnovers and play-making, the Nets fell behind by as many as 18 points at the start of the third quarter after they allowed Denver to net 70 first-half points. The defensive trend was an extension of Brooklyn’s lackluster effort against the Thunder on Sunday that saw them allow 72 second-half points.

With both teams shooting well from the floor, it became clear that the winner was going to be decided by who could get the most defensive stops. Brooklyn especially stepped up defensively during the team’s extended 29-4 run in the third quarter that brought them to as large as a seven-point lead, countered by 60.8% shooting from the field and a 16-of-32 mark from three for the game.

Durant was the heartbeat of the Nets’ comeback as they out-scored the Nuggets 68-46 in the second half. He stepped up as a scorer and facilitator and helped close out the victory with his dagger three-pointer.

The victory was a team effort as each Net that hit the court shot *at least* 50% from the field. The bench combined for 43 points on the back of Caris LeVert’s fifth straight 20-point game.

Turnovers were again a problem for the Nets, registering 18 on the night, but they were able to make up for their mistakes with defensive stops. They also out-scored the Nuggets in the paint 58-36.

Denver had a combined 65 points between Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Will Barton. The Nuggets shot 18-of-37 from three but went cold down the stretch.

Kyrie Irving remained sidelined for the Nets due to personal reasons, and may have violated the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. But the Nets are not allowing that to be a distraction. On the verge of a third straight loss, the Nets dug deep in the second half and made the necessary adjustments to outlast a hot-shooting Nuggets team. 

Brooklyn knows every game matters, and the win represented a significant turnaround from Sunday’s performance. The next task will be extending that resolve into Wednesday’s game against the Knicks. 

Kevin Durant


The stats: 34 PTS, 12-18 FG, 4-7 3PT, 6-7 FT, 9 REB, 13 AST, 7 TO, 36 MIN

Kevin Durant had his fingerprints all over the Nets’ comeback.

KD is, as Steve Nash said after the game, a walking bucket — but he helped facilitate as much as he scored against the Nuggets. He turned it over seven times along the way, but KD was active in setting up his teammates down the stretch to extend the lead.

Beyond the win, Durant passed Elgin Baylor, Dwyane Wade and Adrian Dantley to move into 28th place on the NBA all-time scoring list. Durant gave the Nets reason to feel confident in a second-half comeback, and his closing ability should never be taken for granted by Nets fans. (And he expects to play on Wednesday against the Knicks.) 

Caris LeVert


The stats: 20 PTS, 8-15 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2-3 FT, 5 REB, 6 AST, 1 TO, 26 MIN

Caris LeVert had a quiet second half offensively, but a move back to the bench did not diminish his recent hot streak. 

LeVert registered five assists in Brooklyn’s deciding fourth quarter as Durant got a break on the bench. More impressively, Caris had three (!) offensive boards to lead the team.

The Nets needed every opportunity they could get, especially after Denver’s 70-point first half, and Caris was again successful in distributing and creating on a team he is relied on greatly to produce — especially with Kyrie Irving out of the picture.

Bruce Brown


The stats: 16 PTS, 8-11 FG, 0-2 3PT, 6 REB, 3 AST, 3 BLK, 2 TO, 26 MIN

Bruce Brown did a little bit of everything, and we mean everything.

Brown was a big X factor in the starting lineup, making his presence known on the boards and registering a team-high three blocks. Not to mention, Brown was clutch with big buckets down the stretch to extend the late lead — and he played great defense on Jamal Murray.

Brown always provides a tough defensive matchup, but the energy he provides when he comes alive offensively as well is unmatched.

Joe Harris


The stats: 15 PTS, 6-9 FG, 3-5 3PT, 3 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL, 1 TO, 31 MIN

After a quiet first half, Joey Buckets came alive in the third quarter.

Joe’s third three-pointer of the game gave the Nets their first lead of the second half and Brooklyn rode that momentum until the end. Joe was also especially active on defense, registering a team-high three steals. 

Joe made sure the Nets were focused defensively down the stretch to pull out the win, and his leadership continues to shine through.

Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot


The stats: 3-6 FG, 3-5 3PT, 2-4 FT, 2 REB, 1 STL, 23 MIN

TLC made sure to get in his shots while coming off the bench, supplying timely three-pointers as the Nets made their move in the second half.

The Nets needed more from their supporting cast after their meager first half, and TLC was up to the challenge. He is proving to be a reliable scorer no matter the minutes he is allowed.