With 7:37 to go in the second quarter, the limited crowd at Barclays Centre in Brooklyn exploded.
After missing the previous 23 games with a hamstring injury, Kevin Durant checked into the game for the first time.
On his second offensive possession, Nets coach Steve Nash got the former MVP involved. Kyrie Irving found Durant curling around a LaMarcus Aldridge screen, with the 11-time all-star rising up to bury a trademark mid-range jumper from the left elbow.
The effortless first basket was a sign of things to come for Durant, as he would play out the rest of the first half to finish with nine points and two assists on a perfect 2-for-2 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the free-throw line.
"It felt like I was right at home. I've been around the guys for the last month and a half so it felt like an easy adjustment to get back in the swing of things," Durant said on a postgame interview with ESPN's Malika Andrews.
"For me mentally it was different, it's been a long time since I didn't start but it worked out," Durant said about coming off the bench. "I was at a cap on minutes and if it was a close game he wanted to be able to throw me in during the fourth."
With the Nets blowing out the Pelicans to record a 139-111 win, Durant was far from needed down the stretch but did tally 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists in just 18 minutes.
"It was great to finally play in front of some Brooklyn fans tonight, the cheer they gave me when I checked in was incredible," Durant said.
A perfect return.- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) April 8, 2021
📼 Highlight's from @KDTrey's 17-point, 5-for-5 night 📼 pic.twitter.com/xsuQecih92
Griffin throws down again
Much has been made of Blake Griffin dunking since making his Brooklyn debut, with the 32-year-old at it again against New Orleans.
SHEESH BLAKE 💥 pic.twitter.com/o5Sp4YUnLI- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) April 8, 2021
Griffin continued his impressive stuff with the franchise to add 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting in 13 minutes off the bench.
Zion's run comes to an end
It was a tough night for the Pelicans overall, with even Zion Williamson's impact subdued by his lofty standards.
Williamson finished with 16 points and six assists on 4-for-12 shooting, ending a run of 25-straight games of 20+ points on better than 50 percent from the field.
Remarkably, the run ends with the second-year star tied with Shaquille O'Neal for the longest such streak in the shot-clock era.
Kyrie doing a bit of everything
With all the big names on the Nets, it can be hard to capture every individual performance but it's worth noting Kyrie Irving chipped in with 24 points and six assists on 7-for-14 from the floor.
Kyrie was dunking.
KAI showing off the hops early 🐰- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) April 8, 2021
🎥 @MaimonidesMC Play of the Game pic.twitter.com/0nj12YMpGs
Kyrie had the defence on skates.
It's too much fun watching @KyrieIrving hoop pic.twitter.com/dNYu8YTbhj- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) April 8, 2021
All in a night's work for Irving.
The Pelicans will have one night off before hosting the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Nets will get two nights to recover before the Los Angeles Lakers come to town.
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