Six wins in a row. Keep coming back Brooklyn!
The Brooklyn networks completed his biggest comeback victory of the season, by as many as 19 points, and beat the detroit pistons 124-121 for win number 19 of the season. As mentioned, the Nets have won six straight games and 10 of their last 11 contests.
Kyrie Irving (38 points) and Kevin Durant (43 points) were exceptional, combining for 81 points on Sunday night. This marked the sixth time that both Durant and Irving each had more than 35 points in the same game since becoming teammates in 2019.
Meanwhile, Detroit was led by former Net Bojan Bogdanovic, who scored 26 points. Rookie Jaden Ivy also had a good performance, scoring 19 points and two big dunks, one of which was a billboard over Yuta Watanabe.
Despite a slow start, the Nets finished the game with blistering shooting percentages: 55% from the field, 51.7% from three and 91.3% on the line. Detroit wasn’t too bad either, hitting 47.7% of their total shots. Although the Pistons were slightly ahead in the rebounding battle, 41-35, that discrepancy did not doom the Nets. That’s always a win for Brooklyn, one of the worst glass-clearing teams in the league.
As mentioned, the Nets didn’t start the contest with the right amount of energy. Detroit jumped out to an early 14-4 lead behind Bogdanovic’s 8 early points. Brooklyn, meanwhile, couldn’t find any sort of rhythm on the field; Royce O’Neale took (and missed) a floating shot and Yuta Watanabe missed a bench shot poorly from midrange. Things were going so bad for the Nets that Watanabe took a nasty dunk to the head from Jaden Ivy. The Pistons finished the first half up, 35-21.
Brooklyn started to find some rhythm in the second quarter; O’Neale, Joe Harris and Seth Curry hit 3-pointers to pull the sluggish offense out of the mire. Meanwhile, the Pistons kept pace behind the posts of Marvin Bagley III and Saddiq Bey’s isolations for a combined 20 points off the bench. The Pistons then closed out the half on a 14-8 run to finish the half with 71 points to the Nets’ 54.
The Nets finally began to weather the storm, starting the third on a 15-7 run. Brooklyn kept chipping away. They went on another run in the last three minutes, this time 12-0. In the last 30 seconds of the third, Kevin Durant hit three straight 3-pointers. Behind Durant’s 26 points (!!) in the quarter, Brooklyn miraculously entered the fourth up, 98-96.
Here they are, all 26, including the 20 in the last 3:18. Enjoy…
The fourth quarter was Kyrie’s time to cook, as it was against the Raptors two nights earlier. He dropped 10 points in the first six minutes of the game. The next five minutes, however, weren’t nearly as efficient from an execution standpoint. Detroit went without a field goal for a full five minutes while the Nets only went 2-for-8 in that same time frame as the PIstons threw an assortment of double teams on KD and Kyrie. The Pistons finally broke their scoring drought when Bogdanovic hit a huge 3-pointer on the other end to cut Brooklyn’s lead to one.
Irving then made contact on step back three with 30 seconds to spare; and yet, with a chance to put the Pistons down by four, he just went 2-for-3 from the line. Detroit was able to add two points on an Alec Burks layup, but with just 11 seconds to spare, they had to play foul and sent Durant to the line, who went 2-for-2 in the clutch. On the final possession of the game, Bogdanovic was dealt a three look that was deflected by Nic Claxton for his third block of the game…
…and Brooklyn officially completed its biggest comeback of the season.
- With his first six points tonight, Kevin Durant reached 26,400 career points. KD passed John Havlicek (26,395) and Paul Pierce (26,397) to 16th on the NBA all-time scoring list. Next up: Tim Duncan (26,496).
- Kevin Durant scored 26 of his game’s 39 points in the third quarter. The 26 points are the most points Durant has scored in any quarter of his NBA career (regular season or playoffs). Previous high: 25 points – fourth quarter – Oct. 26, 2018 with Golden State in New York.
- Of the 26, KD scored 20 in the last 3:18 of the quarter. He becomes the first player in the last 25 seasons to score 20 points in the last four minutes of any quarter.
- KD and Kyrie are the first pair of teammates to each score 35+ points in the same game 3 times in a season since Durant and Russell Westbrook did it in 2011-12.
- 1994-95 Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal are the only couple to have done this in the last 30 years.
- Kevin Durant has scored 40-plus points in each of his last three games against Detroit, going back to last season. Durant is the first player to score 40-plus points in three straight games against the Pistons since San Francisco’s Rick Barry in the 1966-67 season.
- The Nets’ two biggest comeback victories of the season came in the last two games:
—He rallied from an 18-point deficit to win in Toronto on Friday night.
—He rallied from 19 points to win in Detroit tonight.
—Brooklyn is 19-12 (9-7 on the road).
The Nets have now come back from three double-digit deficits in their three games, having come back from 14 against the Pacers.
Is KD as good as ever? Is he getting better?!?
It’s pretty wild when reporters ask Kyrie, Jacque Vaughn and KD himself if this is the best streak of Durant’s career and if he’s getting better…and the questions are legitimate!
“I just think mentally I understand the game a little bit more,” Durant said when asked. “I’m not too surprised by anything they throw at me. You could tell I’m on a different level of mindset than I was when I was a younger player a few years ago. But I felt like I’ve had great basketball moments before, but this is pretty solid.
“I’m having fun, I’m making some shots right now so I can’t compare, I try not to compare, but I feel like mentally I’m getting better and I’m starting to understand the game in a different way. level than before.
“Teams throw everything at him, so that part, I think justifies that conversation,” Jacque Vaughn said when asked the same question. “Just because at the end of the night, you look at the stat sheet and it’s an extremely efficient night… You look at it in a number of ways, which means his game is still improving, which is pretty hard to say. but some truth behind it.”
“The numbers show,” Irving said, after scoring 38 points of his own. “When we’re out there he doesn’t necessarily feel that way because he makes it look so easy or he gets it in a lot of ways – when he’s on stages like this you want to play well alongside him, that’s really how I feel. I want to play well with him.”
Illness and Injury Update
Jacque Vaughn said she hopes Patty Mills is back and healthy on Wednesday against the Warriors. He said Mills’ non-COVID illness had been hard on him. TJ Warren banged his knee in the second quarter and didn’t return. However, Vaughn said Warren is fine and could have returned if necessary.
As Spongebob would say…
The Nets return home to receive the warriors of the golden state, who will not be able to count on Stephen Curry, on Wednesday. Coverage begins at 7:30 on NBA TV.
For a different perspective on tonight’s game, head over to bad boys from detroitour Pistons sister site.