Durant scores 31 as Nets hold on to beat shorthanded Heat

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Kevin Durant scored a team-high 31 points as the new-look Brooklyn Nets solved some of their defensive woes on Saturday to hold on and beat the shorthanded Miami Heat 128-124.

Since putting together the dynamic trio of Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, the Nets have had no trouble showcasing their offence but have struggled on the other side of the court.

Irving finished with 28 points, and Harden was held to just 12 but dished out 11 assists, as Brooklyn halted a modest two game losing streak. Durant returned to the line-up after sitting out Friday's 125-113 loss to Cleveland to get some extra rest.

Brooklyn has now allowed 396 points in their last three games after losing back-to-back contests to the Cavaliers, including an 147-135 double overtime loss on Wednesday.

Bam Adebayo finished with 41 points and nine assists to lead the Heat, who rallied from a 14 point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to give the Nets a run for their money down the stretch at Barclays Center arena in New York.

The Heat's performance was impressive considering they were missing key starters, including last season's playoff hero Jimmy Butler, who is out because of Covid-19 health protocols.

Besides Butler, the Heat were without Avery Bradley (Covid-19 protocols) and Tyler Herro (neck spasms). Herro has missed the last four games and did not make the trip for the two-game series.

Elsewhere, the Golden State Warriors star guard Stephen Curry passed Hall of Famer Reggie Miller to become the player to make the second most three-pointers in NBA history, after making his 2,561st against the Utah Jazz on Saturday.

Curry is now just 412 three-pointers behind the record, held by Hall of Famer Ray Allen.

The record-breaking three came early in the second half of the game. Curry drove into the lane, passed the ball out to Draymond Green on the wing, relocated in the corner and nailed the shot off a quick feed from Green.