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Red-hot Nets beat Bucks for eighth straight win

Dec 23, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA;  Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) looks to drive past Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons (10) in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving came alive in the fourth quarter when he scored 14 of his 18 points as the Brooklyn Nets fended off a comeback attempt by the Milwaukee Bucks and extended the NBA’s longest active winning streak to eight games with a 118-100 victory on Friday night in New York.

Facing the NBA’s best team, the Nets also won for the 12th time in 13 games and improved to 10-1 in their past 11 home games. Brooklyn led for the final 42:56, by as many as 23 in the third quarter and made enough plays down the stretch.

Irving helped Brooklyn close it out after missing nine of his first 10 shots. After Milwaukee was within 99-89 on a 3-pointer by former Net Brook Lopez, Irving shot 6 of 18 but converted a 3-point play with 4 1/2 minutes left and hit a 3-pointer with 3:07 remaining to make it 113-92 and clinch the win.

Kevin Durant led the Nets with 24 points and ended Friday at 26,484 points – 12 behind Tim Duncan for 15th on the all-time scoring list.

Nic Claxton made his first nine shots and added 19 as the Nets shot 49.5 percent and earned their third double-digit win of the streak. Royce O’Neale hit five of Brooklyn’s 14 3-pointers and contributed 17 points while Ben Simmons nearly posted a triple-double of 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight of Brooklyn’s 30 assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 26 points but Milwaukee lost consecutive games for the second time this season. Lopez added 23 as the Bucks shot 44 percent and Jrue Holiday contributed 18 on a night when the Bucks missed 28 of 37 3-point tries.

Durant scored 10 points as the Nets shot 56 percent and held a 36-29 lead after the opening quarter. Brooklyn led by double digits most of the second quarter and took a 60-47 lead by halftime.

Brooklyn opened its first 20-point lead when O’Neale’s 3-pointer made it 72-52 with 7:54 remaining and a hook shot by Simmons expanded the margin to 77-54 about two minutes later. Milwaukee outscored Brooklyn 21-8 over the final 5:50 to get within 85-75 entering the fourth after Pat Connaughton hit a 3-pointer with 6.1 seconds left.

–Field Level Media