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Nets’ final quarter push handles slumping Blazers

Mar 18, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Drew Eubanks (24) dunks as Brooklyn Nets forward James Johnson (16) defends during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant scored 38 points as the Brooklyn Nets rallied in the second half and held on for a 128-123 victory over the skidding Portland Trail Blazers Friday night in New York.

Durant made 11 of 15 shots and hit 14 of 15 free throws on a night when he committed eight of Brooklyn’s 21 turnovers.

Seth Curry returned from a sore left ankle and added 27 points. Curry hit two of his season high-tying seven 3-pointers in the opening five-plus minutes of the fourth when Durant rested.

Bruce Brown chipped in 15 of his 17 points in the second half as the Nets won for the fifth time in six games and improved to 5-14 in their past 19 home contests. Andre Drummond also finished with 17 and nine rebounds while rookie Cam Thomas added 11 and Goran Dragic added 10 assists as Brooklyn shot 58.4 percent and outscored Portland 64-41 over the final 22:21.

Josh Hart scored 25 points as the Blazers lost for the ninth time in 10 games and only the second time by single digits in that span. Rookie Brandon Williams added 24, Drew Eubanks contributed 18 and Ben McLemore finished with 17 as Portland scored 68 points in the paint and shot 50 percent.

Durant posted his 19th 30-point game and scored 14 points in the third quarter when the Nets outscored Portland 39-26 and erased an 82-64 deficit. He returned with the Nets holding a 113-105 lead with 6:52 remaining.

After Durant returned, the Nets sweated out the final minutes. The Blazers missed a golden opportunity to get closer when Justise Winslow missed three foul shots with 2:06 remaining but trailed 124-121 when Hart hit a putback with 18.9 seconds left.

Durant hit two free throws with 12.3 seconds left and following Winslow’s putback, Curry finally finished it off at the line in the final seconds.

Portland held a 75-62 lead by halftime but the Nets stormed back in the third quarter. Durant’s 3-pointer gave Brooklyn its first lead since the first quarter at 96-94 with 2:50 remaining and the Nets settled for a 101-101 tie into the fourth.

-Field Level Media