NEW YORK (AP) – Kevin Durant returned from a 23-game absence to spark Brooklyn’s most explosive half of the season, ending with 17 factors and excellent capturing within the Nets’ 139-111 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night time.
Durant got here off the bench with about 7 half minutes left within the second quarter and by the point the interval ended the Nets had 79 factors and a 20-point halftime lead. Brooklyn was a scorching 14 for 18 (78%) in its 43-point quarter.
Durant went 5 for five and added seven rebounds and 5 assists in 19 minutes in his return from a strained left hamstring. He was initially listed within the beginning lineup, however was eliminated in a revised lineup distributed minutes earlier than his first recreation since Feb. 13.
The All-Star ahead bought an ovation from the primary house crowd he’d performed in entrance of with the Nets. Barclays Middle solely started permitting restricted crowds on Feb. 23.
Kyrie Irving scored 24 factors and LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 within the Nets’ ninth straight house win.
Eric Bledsoe scored 26 factors for the Pelicans earlier than being ejected within the third quarter.
Zion Williamson had simply 16 on 4-for-12 capturing, ending his streak of 25 straight video games with 20 factors and 50% capturing. That tied Shaquille O’Neal for the longest such streak since 1954-55, when the shot clock debuted.
An evening after surrendering 46 factors within the third quarter of a loss to Atlanta, the Pelicans’ defenseless interval got here sooner.
Brooklyn led 36-33 after Blake Griffin’s lengthy 3-pointer on the buzzer to finish the primary quarter. The lead had grown to 53-44 by the point Durant checked in and the rout was quickly on.
The Nets shot 55% and made 19 3-pointers. They did all of it with out James Harden, who will miss a minimum of 10 days together with his personal hamstring harm. He sat on the bench sporting shorts.
Brooklyn scored 36 extra within the third, bringing a 115-82 result in the fourth whereas Durant went again to the bench.
Pelicans: Lonzo Ball scored 15 factors. … Brandon Ingram missed his fifth straight recreation with a proper foot harm.
Nets: Griffin had 10 factors, with a robust dunk within the second quarter. … The 79 factors equaled the third-most for the Nets in a primary half in franchise historical past.
Although the Nets have had their Massive Three play simply seven instances, Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy doesn’t see a lot trigger for concern for Nets coach Steve Nash.
“I imply, you’re speaking about three actually, actually gifted guys who’ve performed in a variety of large video games they usually know tips on how to play the sport and he’s seen all of them play,” Van Gundy mentioned. “I simply can’t think about that it’s an enormous drawback. I imply, actually he’d prefer to have all of them collectively for as a lot time as he may, however I don’t assume he’s in all probability over there actual, actual anxious about something.”
Durant performed as a reserve for less than the second time in his profession – each in his final two house video games. He wasn’t capable of begin on Feb. 5 towards Toronto in what was his 867th recreation whereas the NBA reviewed an inconclusive coronavirus check results of somebody Durant had interacted with that afternoon. He was later cleared to enter, then compelled to go away once more within the third quarter.
Pelicans: Host Philadelphia on Friday.
Nets: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.