Coming into this game, the Brooklyn Nets were without superstar Kyrie Irving (personal reasons) and key rotation piece Spencer Dinwiddie (torn ACL).
Not helping matters was the fact that they were hosting a Denver Nuggets squad that had won four of their last five, with their only loss coming in the closing seconds of an overtime clash with the Dallas Mavericks.
But Brooklyn still had Kevin Durant and he reminded everybody of that in this game. Not to mention, the rest of the Nets squad - that balled out in the team's blowout win over the Philadelphia 76ers, a few days earlier, when they were playing without KD and Irving.
These talking points provided an absolute entertainer at Barclays Center.
The visitors led for a majority of the first three quarters, including their largest lead of 18 early in the third period. Midway through that period is when things changed and Durant began the Nets' charge.
The hosts outscored the Nuggets 36-20, which included a remarkable 29-4 run, and Durant was responsible for 24 points (scored 14 and assisted on 10) in that period. In the final quarter, as the Nets continued their rally, he did his damage late by scoring or assisting on all of the team's late 9-0 run.
🔥 KEVIN DURANT. TAKING OVER. 🔥- NBA (@NBA) January 13, 2021
34 PTS (20 in the 2nd half) for KD as the @BrooklynNets win! pic.twitter.com/qNlcE7H413
Durant was near impossible to stop in the second half. In 16 second-half minutes, he scored 20 points on near-perfect shooting from the field (8-9 FGs; 3-3 3PM) and dished out five assists.
The final dagger 3-pointer moved him into 28th on the NBA's all-time scoring list, passing Adrian Dantley - one of three former players that Durant climbed past over the course of the game.
📈 | @KDTrey5 passed three of the greats on the all-time scoring list tonight pic.twitter.com/D8S5OYyuay- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 13, 2021
The 6'10" former league MVP finished two rebounds shy of his first triple-double of the season, finishing with 34 points (12-18 FGs) and a season-high 13 assists, one shy of his career-high.
Kevin Durant is having a better FG%, 3P%, RPG, APG, BPG than his 2014 MVP season.- StatMuse (@statmuse) January 13, 2021
He's also putting up 29.9 points per game - the third best mark of his career. pic.twitter.com/eTwU3qxiGn
He received ample support from his team with four other players finishing in double figures. The starting backcourt of Bruce Bowen (16 PTS, 3 ASTS, 3 BLKS) and Joe Harris (15 PTS, 4 ASTS, 3 STLS) combined for 31 points on 14-of-20 shooting while Caris LeVert came off the bench to finish with 20 points, six assists, and five rebounds in 25 minutes.
"We needed it, I think, for our soul," Nets head coach Steve Nash said postgame on the victory.
Jokic doing Jokic things
Durant and Nets had the last laugh by running away with the game but that takes nothing away from Jokic's stellar game. Coming into this game, he was only the second player in NBA history after Oscar Robertson to average 20-10-10 through the first 10 games of the season and in this one, he did more than just record points, rebounds, and assists.
The Serbian center finished with a career-high seven steals along with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists.
Unstoppable pic.twitter.com/1nxaSsdyNL- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 13, 2021
Jokic did most of his damage in the first half (15 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals) but couldn't do much when the Nets' pulled off their run in the third.
"We were nowhere," Jokic said postgame on the Nets' 29-4 third-quarter run. "The wrong midset," is what head coach Michael Malone said he saw during that run.
Four other Nuggets finished in double figures led by 22 from Will Barton. With no Michael Porter Jr., Bol Bol registered his first career start and finished with five points and two rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
Denver head back, after finishing their 3-game East coast road trip with a 2-1 record, to host the Golden State Warriors in a couple of days.
Meanwhile, the Nets will play in-city rivals the Knicks at MSG on the second night of a back-and-back and Durant intends to play that game.
"I plan on it," KD said on playing against the Knicks.
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