NBA: Nets on top after Chicago Bulls defeat at home to Pacers.
NEW YORK (AFP) – Kevin Durant scored 27 points as the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road to claim first place in the Eastern Conference on Monday (Nov. 22), while the Chicago Bulls suffered a surprise setback against the Indiana Pacers.
Durant’s points tally included a perfect 10 of 10 free throws, while the Nets star also contributed six rebounds, nine assists and three blocks as Brooklyn nullified a 12-point deficit in the third quarter to claim a third win. consecutive.
LaMarcus Aldridge backed Durant with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Patty Mills had 17 points and James Harden 14.
The victory gave Brooklyn sole ownership of the Eastern Conference table with 13 wins to five losses.
Nets coach Steve Nash expressed satisfaction with the way his team had worked its way back to competition in the second half.
“They meet in a hole and they are proud guys and they respond, and that’s the most important thing,” Nash said. “They replied tonight.
“We closed them in the second half. That’s what we told them, we have to win this game on defense. And they did.
“The spirit was not very good in the first half, but it was exceptional in the second. The defense led to the offense.”
Nash also singled out Japan-born 2021 draft pick Cam Thomas for accolades.
The 20-year-old stepped up with 11 points, including two 3-pointers to aid in the second-half comeback.
“Cam was great,” Nash said. “He stepped forward confidently to take shots. He’s a kid who has a bright future. He really hung out there tonight. He took some big shots and took a step defensively. I was proud of him.”
Durant was also impressed by Thomas’ cameo.
“He gave us the boost we needed, someone who can score with dribbling and receiving that way,” Durant said.
“They obviously left him out of the scouting report, left him open and made plays.”
In Chicago, the Bulls took a surprisingly one-sided beating to lose ground to the Nets at the top of the East, falling 109-77 against the Pacers.
TJ McConnell (left) of the Indiana Pacers drives Ayo Dosunmu of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. PHOTO: REUTERS
Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers scorers with 21 points, while Malcolm Brogdon had 16 points and Justin Holiday 14. Myles Turner and Caris LeVert finished with 12 points apiece.
Meanwhile, the Bulls finished with just two players in double digits, DeMar DeRozan adding 18 and Zach LaVine 17, as the Pacers defense dominated.
“There is a standard and an expectation that we try to play by and it certainly wasn’t that tonight,” Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said.
“How we learn from this is really important. In an 82-game schedule, nights like this happen.
“If it catapults us forward to make us better, then great. If it doesn’t, it’s a wasted opportunity.”
In Washington, the Wizards were defeated 109-103 by the Charlotte Hornets, sparked by a 32-point display from Terry Rozier and 28 points from LaMelo Ball. Gordon Hayward added 16 points.
Charlotte Hornets ‘Kelly Oubre Jr. (left) drives to the basket alongside Washington Wizards’ Montrezl Harrell at Capital One Arena. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Montrezl Harrell led the Wizards scoring with 24 from the bench, while starter Bradley Beal had 18 points for Washington.
In Milwaukee, the Bucks put in an excellent all-around offensive effort to bomb the Orlando Magic 123-92.
The victory was never in doubt for Milwaukee after a franchise-record first-half performance that saw them rush to a 77-36 halftime lead, the biggest halftime lead in Bucks history.