To say it was a satisfying win would be an understatement. In Game 1 of their four-game West Coast trip, the Nets exploded in the fourth quarter and beat the Clippers, 110-95, led by… Seth Curry. Curry had 14 of his 22 points in the fourth. That was 12 more than Kevin Durant who kept Brooklyn in the game with 25 points in the first three quarters!
It was a back and forth fight until the middle of the fourth with the Clippers trying a variety of defenses against KD. With 6.55 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Nets and Clippers were tied at 86, then Curry simply took over and the Nets went on a 15-0 run, eventually finishing 24-9, going 13-of-19 at the total, including 6 -de-10 deep. Curry, who was 0-4 deep at the time, hit his last four threes.
It wasn’t just an offense. The Nets held Paul George to no points — zero, nada, zip, zilch — in the fourth. For the game, George was 5 of 21, 1 of 6 deep.
Indeed, Jacque Vaughn’s side have now held their opponents to under 97 points in five straight games, the same five Kyrie Irving missed. During this period, the Nets are the best defensive team in the league.
It wasn’t just Curry and Durant. Nic Claxton had another double-double with 13 points, a career-high 14 rebounds as well as three blocks. It was his fifth double-double of the season, one more than all of last season. Edmond Sumner, who scored nine points in the first, just as he did on Wednesday, finished with 11 points.
Tsai: Kyrie Irving “still has work to do”
The Clippers game was the fifth game of Kyrie Irving’s suspension by the Nets, the minimum he will be out, but he won’t be back against the Lakers on Sunday night. Jacque Vaughn said that before Saturday afternoon’s game. And while Irving, the Nets, the NBA and the NBPA are working on a solution to get him back on the court, Joe Tsai told Brian Lewis midgame that things were staying smooth.
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) November 12, 2022
Tsai was referring to the conditions set by the Nets for his return. The Nets face the Lakers on Sunday, the Trailblazers on Thursday before heading home Sunday against Memphis.
Tsai also had this to say about an Irving return in her exclusive interview with Lewis.
“He has to show people he’s sorry,” Tsai added. “What’s important – and what people miss – is that he only apologized after he was suspended.”
YES Network’s Frank Isola said before the game that some people had suggested the Nets might deal with Irving when he returns. Isola noted the Nets were playing better without Irving, despite averaging almost 30 points before his suspension. Isola is not the first expert to suggest this.
Two days ago, Zach Lowe suggested on ESPN that the summer rumors of Irving at the Lakers could come back strong. He cited LeBron’s comment that Irving “should be able to play.”
“And with LeBron’s comments about Kyrie…Look, I don’t know why LeBron said what he said about Kyrie yesterday. About how it’s time to bring him back to the league,” Lowe said.
“Maybe he just said it because he believes in it and there’s nothing else to do. I can tell you in the league and even within the Lakers, some corners of this one, these comments were read as LeBron was opening the door to… At least opening the door to ‘Hey, if y’all are comfortable with this and all the blowback would be, and the Nets are ready to get out of Kyrie Irving’s business now so we can get him for a lot less, not both choices, maybe one choice…”
However, after the game, Kevin Durant made it clear that he hopes to see Irving back on the court with the Nets soon. Durant said he was in contact with Irving:
“His morale is high. I can’t wait to play the game. So hopefully this is all over and we can get past him and get him back on the floor soon,” said Durant, who also noted that the issue was “above our heads”.
Milestone Watch by Kevin Durant
With his 25th point late in the third quarter, Kevin Durant has now scored 25+ points in each of the first 13 games of the season. The 13-game streak is the longest 25-point game streak for a player at any time in a season in franchise history.
Here is the list of players over the past 55 years who have scored 25+ points in each of their team’s first 13 games of a season:
Michael Jordan – 1988-89 (16 in a row)
Kevin Durant – 2022-23 (13 in a row – active)
Michael Jordan – 1987-88 (13 in a row)
Of course, if you’ve recovered over 55, you meet Wilt Chamberlain who started his historic (50.4 points per game over 82 games) 1961-62 season with 80 straight 25+ games.
The Nets are spending the night in the City of Angels and will face the Lakers at 9:30 p.m. ET, also at Crypto.com Arena. Will KD play in the back to back. Jacque Vaughn said he doesn’t know yet, but noted that you feel better physically after a win.
For a different perspective, head over to our Clippers partner site, ClipsNation.
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