Sports

Kevin Durant helps Nets edge Cavaliers with late basket


Patty Mills #8 and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets react after a made shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on November 22, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio

Patty Mills #8 and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets react after a made shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on November 22, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio.  Ron Schwane/Getty Images/AFP 

Kevin Durant scored 27 points, including the go-ahead basket late in the fourth quarter, as the visiting Brooklyn Nets rallied for a 117-112 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.

Durant returned from sitting out Friday’s two-point win over the visiting Orlando Magic on Friday due to a minor right shoulder sprain and struggled at times on a night when the Nets overcame a 12-point deficit.

Durant hit two clutch shots in the final 3:11, including a driving layup that gave the Nets a 106-105 lead with 2:51 left after James Johnson intercepted an errant pass by Cleveland’s Darius Garland.

Durant also collected nine assists and six rebounds on a night when he shot 8 of 19 and went a perfect 10 of 10 from the free-throw line. His final assist came with 1:08 when he dished to Johnson, whose cutting layup put Brooklyn up 113-108 with 68 seconds remaining.

Cleveland was within three points twice in the final 14.9 seconds but Durant hit four free throws the rest of the way to ice Brooklyn’s 11th win in 13 games.

Reserve LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 on 10-for-14 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds for Brooklyn, which shot 47.4 percent. Patty Mills contributed 17 and hit five of Brooklyn’s 11 3-pointers while James Harden totaled 14 and a season-high 14 assists.

Garland scored 24 points as Cleveland dropped its fourth straight, but he went cold in the fourth quarter when he was 1 of 10. Garland also struggled after taking an accidental forearm in the head from Brooklyn’s DeAndre’ Bembry midway through the third.

Lauri Markkanen added 22 points in his first game back from a nine-game absence (health and safety protocols) and former Net Jarrett Allen collected 20 points and 15 boards as Cleveland shot 38.7 percent.

After a 3-pointer by Jevon Carter got the Nets within 46-43, Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 17-9 over the final 5:27 and took a 63-52 lead at halftime.

Cleveland extended its lead to 76-64 on a 3-pointer by Issac Okoro with 6:22 left in the third but missed 10 of its final 11 shots. The Nets capitalized and ended the quarter with a 20-6 run to take an 84-82 lead on a 14-footer by rookie Cam Thomas with five seconds left.

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