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Nets lean on starters to sneak by Warriors

Jan 22, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole (3) lays up the ball against the Brooklyn Nets  during the first half at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Royce O’Neal buried a go-ahead 3-pointer with 28.5 seconds remaining, Kyrie Irving capped a 38-point performance with a pair of clinching free throws 14 seconds later and the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Golden State Warriors 120-116 on Sunday night in San Francisco.

With the win, Brooklyn completed a two-game sweep of the season series against the Warriors.

Irving won a scoring duel with Stephen Curry 38-26 and got a lot more help from his fellow starters as the Nets won a second straight after beginning their five-game trip with back-to-back losses.

Surviving the potential embarrassment of continual intentional fouling on him, Nic Claxton made six of his 15 foul shots en route to a 24-point, 15-rebound double-double for Brooklyn, which was playing once again without an injured Kevin Durant.

After leading for most of the first half, only to see the Nets draw even in the third quarter, the Warriors used superior play from their bench to build a 110-98 advantage on a Jonathan Kuminga layup with 5:42 remaining.

The Nets dominated the finish, however, using a nine-point burst that featured seven points from Claxton to get within arm’s length, then a Joe Harris 3-pointer to pull into a 112-all tie with 1:52 to go.

Two free throws by Curry gave the Warriors one last lead at 116-115 with 1:12 to go, but O’Neal turned Irving’s ninth assist into the biggest hoop of the night. The star guard then hit his two foul shots after Klay Thompson’s attempt at a go-ahead 3-pointer was off the mark with 20.1 seconds left.

O’Neale finished with 16 points, Harris 14 points and Seth Curry 12 for the Nets, who got 99 points from their starters. Another starter, Ben Simmons, added a game-high 11 assists and seven points to the cause.

The Nets’ bench chipped in with just 21 points, which was one more than Kuminga had for the Warriors on a four-man reserve crew that totaled 50 points.

Kevon Looney (14 points) and Donte DiVincenzo (13) also scored in double figures off the Golden State bench, while starters Jordan Poole and Thompson had 17 and 10 points, respectively.

Looney completed a double-double with 10 rebounds, while DiVincenzo had a team-high eight assists.

Draymond Green contributed nine points, 11 rebounds and seven assists to the loss, which was Golden State’s fourth straight at home.

–Field Level Media