Kyrie Irving scored 42 points as the Brooklyn Nets led most of the way and picked up a crucial 118-105 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night in New York.
Brooklyn (41-38) moved into ninth place, alongside the Atlanta Hawks, and one game ahead of the Charlotte Hornets. The Nets also moved within 1 1/2 games of the seventh-place Cleveland Cavaliers.
Irving made 13 of 24 shots (54.2 percent) after shooting 12 of 32 (37.5 percent) Saturday in a seven-point loss at Atlanta. On Tuesday, he hit eight 3-pointers, including consecutive 3s that gave Brooklyn a 95-84 lead with 7:40 remaining after Houston had sliced a 21-point deficit to six.
Irving then converted a three-point play with 3 1/2 minutes left, for a 107-95 lead. He converted another three-point play after beating the shot clock with 2:44 remaining, putting Brooklyn up 111-98.
Irving’s best showing since being allowed to play home games occurred on a quiet night for Kevin Durant, who followed up his 55-point showing Saturday by finishing with 18 points on 4-of-13 shooting Tuesday. He made 9 of 10 free throws to make up for the poor field-goal performance.
Bruce Brown added 15 points, Cam Thomas contributed 13 and Andre Drummond totaled 10 points and 11 rebounds for Brooklyn, which was missing Seth Curry (sore left ankle), Goran Dragic (health and safety protocol) and James Johnson (non-COVID illness)
Kevin Porter Jr. scored a season-high 36 points as the Rockets (20-60) hung around most of the fourth quarter before dropping their fifth straight. Rookie Jalen Green added 30 points for his fifth straight game with at least 30.
After Green’s dunk forged a 32-32 tie with 10:13 left in the second quarter, the Nets ripped off a 17-4 run. They took a 49-36 lead on Brown’s 3-pointer with 6:34 left, then opened a 64-47 lead by halftime.
Porter’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 77-65 with 5:39 to go, and the Nets took a 90-74 lead into the fourth after Porter hit another 3-pointer with two seconds remaining in the third.
Houston scored the first seven points of the fourth and forced Brooklyn to burn a timeout when Green hit a 3-pointer with 10:29 remaining.
–Field Level Media