Durant’s Return Highlights Nets’ Blowout Win Over Pelicans

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Final: 04/07/2021

W 139 – 111

Screenshot/ESPN

In case anyone forgot, the Nets are going for the kill. 

A high-scoring affair ended in a 139-111 blowout win for the Nets against the Pelicans at home. Brooklyn improves to 36-16 and once again holds sole possession of first place in the East. 

The Nets moved one (big) step closer to full health on Wednesday as Kevin Durant played his first minutes since Feb. 13. In true Durant fashion, he scored 17 points without missing a shot in 19 minutes. 

Durant’s burst was just one layer of a night that Brooklyn dominated offensively from the jump. Though the Pelicans hung around in the first quarter, a 43-point second quarter by Brooklyn truly provided separation as the Nets led by as many as 38 points on the night.

Brooklyn spread the wealth on offense as seven different Nets reached double figures on 55.4% shooting from the field and 19-of-41 made three-pointers. The ball movement and chemistry were flowing as the team notched 37 assists on 51 made field goals.

Safe to say, it was an efficient night on the offensive end.

Defensively, the Nets held the Pelicans to 42.7% shooting while capitalizing on New Orleans’ mistakes, scoring 26 points off 14 turnovers. The Nets turned it over 17 times themselves after recording zero giveaways in the first quarter. 

Every available Net except DeAndre Jordan got time on the court as the bench totaled 59 points (including Durant’s 17). The extended rotation allowed the Nets to gain a 57-49 rebounding advantage and 56-48 in points in the paint against a physical Pelicans team.

Zion Williamson was held to 16 points on the night while Eric Bledsoe, who was ejected in the third quarter, had a team-high 26 points. Lonzo Ball added 15. 

Amid the recent close games, it was easy to forget how dominant the Nets could be in full form. Wednesday was a reminder of the heights that can be reached — and that was without James Harden.

Welcome back, KD. The Nets are having fun — and are on the hunt for more. 

Kyrie Irving

A+

The stats: 24 PTS, 7-14 FG, 4-6 3PT, 6-6 FT, 2 REB, 6 AST, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 30 MIN

Kyrie brought energy from the jump.

As always, Kyrie had multiple “wow” moments that are just so fun to watch. He took it to the hoop early with a big-time dunk and drained some extra shots from distance.

Kyrie played a big role in setting the tone while KD ended up coming off the bench. He had great chemistry with LaMarcus Aldridge and Joe Harris as he recorded a team-high plus-29 in 30 minutes. 

LaMarcus Aldridge

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The stats: 22 PTS, 8-12 FG, 2-2 3PT, 4-4 FT, 3 REB, 2 AST, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 23 MIN

LaMarcus Aldridge had a spectacular night in his own right.

Aldridge and Blake Griffin each got off to quick starts and dominant first halves. As for Aldridge, he got his way against Steven Adams while also holding down the paint defensively.

The Nets are getting big-time production from Aldridge and Griffin, who combined for 32 points on the night. Aldridge has fit right in and found even more opportunities once KD came on and stretched the floor. 

Kevin Durant

A

The stats: 17 PTS, 5-5 FG, 2-2 3PT, 5-5 FT, 7 REB, 5 AST, 1 BLK, 6 TO, 19 MIN

Back like he never left.

Though there was brief panic among Nets fans that KD did not check in until midway through the second quarter, all that fear quickly evaporated when he made his first bucket. He looked spry and was as efficient as could be (though his turnovers mounted quickly).

His minutes were expectedly restricted in his first game back, but it was great to see KD back out there. Just his presence on the court gives the Nets a lift in energy and shifts the defense to benefit Brooklyn’s other shot-makers. 

Joe Harris

A-

The stats: 14 PTS, 6-9 FG, 2-4 3PT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 22 MIN

Joe did not have many looks, but he was quick to remind everyone how big of a threat he can be.

Now that KD is back, Joe is going to benefit on the perimeter even more. And when he is not open from three, he has done a great job cutting inside and dishing the ball to an open teammate.

Joe had six rebounds at halftime and looked like he would notch a double-double, but he did not grab any more boards in the second half. Still, Joe has excelled with different looks to his game and being reliable as a spot-up shooter when called upon. 

Chris Chiozza

A-

The stats: 12 PTS, 4-5 FG, 2-3 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 18 MIN

Chris Chiozza quickly filled up the stat sheet in his 18 minutes off the bench. 

Chiozza was Brooklyn’s best passer as he dished eight of the team’s 37 assists on the night. He did a great job leading the second unit while he helps to step up in Harden’s stead.

The Nets need Chiozza to play at a high level, and his play-making is the best it has been all season. Chiozza kept the ball moving and the tempo up while providing great production off the bench. 

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