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Nets destroy Wolves

Agence France-Presse

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LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Kevin Durant scored 31 points as the Brooklyn Nets bounced back from defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers with a blowout victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

Durant led the scorers in a 127-97 victory for the Nets in a game that had been postponed 24 hours after unrest in Minneapolis triggered by the deadly police shooting of 20-year-old Black man Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday.

Durant, making only his third appearance since returning from a near two-month injury layoff, wasted no time in asserting himself, scoring eight points in the first five minutes on court.

The Timberwolves, who have the worst record in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with only 14 victories this season and 41 losses, were never in contention and trailed by a massive 45 points at one stage in the fourth quarter.

Durant got help from guard Joe Harris, who finished with 23 points and Landry Shamet, who added 19 off the bench. DeAndre Jordan also cracked double figures with a 13-point contribution.

Anthony Edwards, the Wolves’ No.1 pick in last year’s draft, led the home side’s scorers with 27 points.

Durant said the Nets had blocked out the backdrop of racial tension in Minneapolis, which forced the postponement of the game on Monday.

“I think guys are obviously aware of what’s going on in our country. We have conversations about this all the time,” Durant said.

“But once we step on the floor we understand what our job is.”

The former NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), meanwhile, said the Nets were simply happy to have avoided a wasted trip.

“I’m glad the NBA made the game happen and that we didn’t come out here for nothing and we finished it off,” said Durant.

“I felt good out there. I feel like my wind and legs are getting under me with each and every minute I’m playing.”

The Nets face a crunch clash with the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday where first place in the Eastern Conference will be at stake. The Nets and Sixers are neck-and-neck with identical 37-16 records.

Nets coach Steve Nash was pleased by his team’s emphatic victory, which came despite a raft of absent players including Kyrie Irving, James Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge.

“Guys have stepped up,” Nash said.

“We’ve got a lot of wins this season where we’ve been undermanned. I’m proud of the effort and tonight was another one where we took care of the task in front of us.”

Nash, a two-time former NBA MVP, meanwhile ruled out making himself available for the injury-hit Nets.

“It would be great for four or five minutes and then the wheels would fly off,” the 47-year-old joked.

“Think I’ll save the world that horror show.”

In other games on Tuesday, the Utah Jazz shrugged off Monday’s surprise loss to the Washington Wizards to score a 106-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Utah’s scoring with 23 points while Donovan Mitchell finished with 22 points for the Jazz, who head the Western Conference with a 41-14 record.

The Los Angeles Clippers, meanwhile, rolled to a sixth straight victory with their 126-115 win on the road at the Indiana Pacers, Paul George leading the way with a 36-point haul with seven rebounds and eight assists.
It was George’s fourth straight with 30 or more points.

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