Wednesday's NBA: Kevin Durant leads Nets in comeback win over Knicks at MSG
New York — Kevin Durant had 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, leading the Brooklyn Nets back from 21 points down to a 110-98 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night that strengthened their chances of the best spot possible next week in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
After watching the Nets come back from 28 down when he was hurt in their last visit to Madison Square Garden, Durant scored 23 points in the second half to fuel this comeback that pulled Brooklyn within a game of Cleveland for seventh place in the East.
The Nets host the Cavaliers on Friday night. If they win that and then beat Indiana on Sunday in their regular-season finale, they would finish seventh and need to win one game in two chances at home in the play-in to qualify for the postseason.
Kyrie Irving added 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Nets, who swept the four-game season series and beat the Knicks for the seventh straight time, their longest winning streak in the local rivalry since taking a franchise-record 11 in a row from 1984-86.
It appeared it would go the Knicks' way most of the night, and they were still ahead by 18 with under four minutes left in the third quarter. But Brooklyn cut it to 10 by the end of the period, then opened the fourth with a 15-2 spurt to storm into the lead.
The Knicks recovered to go back ahead by three, but Durant scored eight straight Brooklyn points, including the tiebreaking jumper that made it 98-96 with 4:15 to play. The Nets followed with 3-pointers by Irving, Seth Curry and Patty Mills to break it open.
Curry and Mills each scored 15 points.
Alec Burks scored 24 points, and RJ Barrett had 23 for the Knicks, who were in control after a 19-0 spanning the first and second quarters.
The Knicks closed the first quarter with a 10-0 spurt to take a 29-25 lead. They ran off the first nine of the second period, making it 38-25 on Obi Toppin's basket just over two minutes in. New York got consecutive 3-pointers from Barrett and Evan Fournier made it 63-46 and the lead was still 17 at the break.
Burks opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and Barrett knocked down a free throw to make it 71-50, but New York would get only 11 more points and shoot 5 for 20 in the quarter. Durant hit a pair of 3s in a 10-2 run to end the period that trimmed it to 82-72.
Boston 117, Chicago 94: Jaylen Brown scored 25 points, Al Horford added 17 on 7-of-7 shooting and the Boston Celtics routed the Chicago Bulls 117-94 on Wednesday night for their 50th victory.
The Celtics have won three in a row and are 27-6 since Jan. 22. They can wrap up the second spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs Thursday night with a victory at Milwaukee.
Jayson Tatum scored 16 points for Boston. He was 5 of 18 from the field, making only one of eight from 3-point range.
The Bulls have lost two straight. They claimed a playoff berth Tuesday.
DeMar DeRozan scored 16 points for Chicago, and Nikola Vucevic added 13 points. Vucevic had four of the Bulls’ 17 turnovers.
The Celtics had a 16-4 run midway through the first quarter to take a 31-14 lead. They shot 57.8% in the first half, going 9 of 18 from 3-point range. Reserve guard Payton Pritchard was 3-for-3 from long distance in the second quarter.
Coming off a home loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday night, the Bulls committed 10 turnovers in the first half. Their frontline depth was weakened when forward Patrick Williams committed his fourth foul with 4:31 left in the second quarter.
Bulls guard Zach LaVine was 1 of 5 from the filed in the first quarter, didn’t attempt a shot in the second quarter and finished 2 of 9. He had seven points.
Former President Barack Obama attended the game.
Atlanta 118, Washington 103: When Trae Young hit a hot scoring stretch in the third period, the Washington Wizards knew they were in trouble.
Young scored 16 of his 30 points in the third period to help Atlanta stretch its lead and the Hawks beat the Wizards 118-103 on Wednesday night.
Kristaps Porzingis led Washington with 26 points and 18 rebounds.
The Hawks are ninth in the Eastern Conference, thanks to Brooklyn's tiebreaker edge for eighth. Atlanta is bound for the play-in tournament with two games remaining in the regular season — both on the road.
The Hawks finished 27-14 at home, including a 19-3 mark since Jan. 17. Their goal is to have another home game in the postseason.
Danilo Gallinari had 26 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta.
Atlanta led 76-70 with about six minutes remaining in the third quarter before Young unleashed a scoring spree that extended the lead. He scored 16 of Atlanta's final 18 points in the period, stretching the advantage to 95-83.
Young hit two 3-pointers and made all six of his free throws during the hot stretch.
Gallinari made his first start since March 25. He missed a 118-108 loss at Toronto on Tuesday night with left knee inflammation and came off the bench in his most recent games.
Bogdan Bogdanovic had 18 points for Atlanta on a season-high six 3s.
Utah 137, Oklahoma City 101: Bojan Bogdanovic scored 27 points, Rudy Gobert added 20 points and 10 rebounds and the Utah Jazz beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 137-101 on Wednesday night.
Jordan Clarkson had 18 points and a season-high 10 assists, and Hassan Whiteside added 15 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks to help the Jazz win their fifth straight home game.
Jaylen Hoard scored 23 points for Oklahoma City. Isaiah Roby and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl each added 18 points.
With nine inactive players due to a slew of injuries, the Thunder struggled to keep pace with Utah once the Jazz found their shot.
Utah surged ahead late in the first quarter on a layup from Bogdanovic that sparked a 16-2 run. The Jazz scored baskets on nine straight possessions.
Oklahoma City cut the deficit to two points in the second quarter, with Lindy Waters III making three straight 3-pointers to fuel a 13-2 run. Hoard cut to the rim for a layup to cap the run and trim Utah’s lead to 57-55.
Clarkson answered with back-to-back baskets to keep Oklahoma City from overtaking the Jazz. He also set up baskets from Gobert on consecutive possessions to help Utah take a 71-58 lead into halftime. The Jazz led by double digits virtually the entire second half.
After the Thunder cut the deficit to nine on a 3-pointer from Robinson-Earl, Utah used a 27-5 run to build up a 118-87 lead early in the fourth quarter.