Durant, Nets Blow Past Timberwolves in Rescheduled Contest

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Final: 04/13/2021

W 127 97

Screenshot via YES

Kevin Durant’s first game without Kyrie Irving and James Harden (post-Harden trade) went just fine as the Nets comfortably beat the Timberwolves 127-97 on Tuesday evening. The win is Brooklyn’s 11th in its last 14 games on the road. 

The Nets’ game against Minnesota was postponed to Tuesday following the police shooting of Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb on Sunday. Both teams wore shirts in warmups that read, “With liberty and justice for all.”

It was all about efficiency for Brooklyn from start to finish as it shot 50.5% from the field and 15-of-36 from three. The Timberwolves were held to just 34.5% shooting and 13-of-50 made shots from distance.

The Nets led by as many as 45 points during the contest thanks in part to energetic ball movement. Brooklyn found success throughout the lineup as it registered 31 assists on 46 made field goals.

The Timberwolves went on an 8-0 run to gain a bit of momentum at the end of the first quarter, but that was about as close as they got to putting a dent in the Nets’ performance. Both teams got good production off the bench, but Brooklyn earned the edge in nearly every statistical category.

The Nets truly made their mark in the paint, where they recorded a 48-24 edge in points and 63-52 in rebounds. Nic Claxton made his first career start while DeAndre Jordan had good run time off the bench.

Minnesota was without Karl-Anthony Towns as he remained with his family on the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death due to COVID-19. Anthony Edwards led the way for Minnesota with 27 points while a familiar face in D’Angelo Russell had 15 points off the bench.

A test for Brooklyn awaits on Wednesday as they visit the 76ers, who are currently tied with the Nets atop the Eastern Conference standings with 37-17 records. Nash said he will reassess if Durant will be available in the morning, while Irving’s status is yet to be announced.

No matter availability, the Nets will have another opportunity to get a feel for one of their top competitors in the East. With each team having picked up a win against the other this season, a tiebreaker is up for grabs. 

Get the popcorn ready. 

Kevin Durant

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The stats: 31 PTS, 11-15 FG, 4-6 3PT, 5-6 FT, 4 REB, 4 AST, 4 TO, 27 MIN

KD continues to look like his impressive self in his return from injury.

It seemed like KD could do no wrong with his shot as he poured in his 31 points in 27 minutes. Durant did turn over the ball a bit, but he made up for it in his team-high +32 plus/minus in his first game in since the Harden trade as the lone active ‘Big Three’ player.

Nash continues to increase Durant’s workload with his status for the second half of a back-to-back up in the air. Durant looked fresh on Tuesday, but it is up to Nash to decide if he is ready for the quick turnaround. 

Joe Harris

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The stats: 23 PTS, 8-12 FG, 5-8 3PT, 2-2 FT, 3 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 3 TO, 29 MIN

Joe Harris was on-point early and kept his foot on the gas.

Headband Joe was in effect (though he threw it off at one point) as he buried five triples on the evening. He was Brooklyn’s leading scorer at the half with 18 points as the Nets built their lead and did not look back. 

It is fun to see what Joe can do alongside KD as the second scoring option. He did a bit of everything as he continues to stretch the floor and keep defenses guessing with his dishes and drives to the rim.

Landry Shamet

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The stats: 19 PTS, 7-12 FG, 5-9 3PT, 5 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 26 PTS

Landry Shamet is truly emerging as an X-factor in Brooklyn’s championship aspirations.

Shamet was spot-on from distance while filling in well at guard as Chris Chiozza was ruled out due to a hand injury. He is doing serious scoring for Brooklyn off the bench while adding a steadying presence.

The Nets need Shamet to stay healthy going forward, especially if Chiozza is going to miss extended time. His performance off the bench could be the difference between a win or loss on any given night — he’s proving to be that important. 

DeAndre Jordan

B

The stats: 13 PTS, 5-5 FG, 3-5 FT, 7 REB, 2 AST, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 21 MIN

Welcome back to the court, DeAndre!

DJ’s playing time has been (very) limited since LaMarcus Aldridge’s arrival, but he had some productive minutes on Tuesday against the Timberwolves. He had some nice give-and-go action with KD and Shamet while helping the Nets build their advantage on the interior.

This may not continue going forward, but DJ has proven he can still be a viable option off the bench — at least offensively. He did add one block defense to help protect the paint, as well. 

Bruce Brown

B+

The stats: 9 PTS, 4-15 FG, 0-2 3PT, 1-1 FT, 12 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 24 MIN

It was all about defense for Bruce Brown on Tuesday.

Bruce had another tough outing from the field, but he was a fiend on defense as he tallied 12 rebounds and added three steals and a block. He worked well alongside Blake Griffin, who also had a tough night offensively.

Bruce will have nights where he’s a sneaky scorer, but Tuesday was all about his grit. And he added a dunk for good measure, too. 

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