George, Clippers in big rally; Knicks, Hawks, Wolves win
of the Brooklyn Nets draws the attention of three New Orleans Pelicans on the way to the basket yesterday at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Irving had 32 points as the Nets won 134-129.
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Kyrie Irving scored 32 points as the Brooklyn Nets shrugged off the injury absence of Kevin Durant to down the New Orleans Pelicans 134-129 yesterday.
An impressive all-round offensive display helped Brooklyn to a win which saw them close to within half a game of the Philadelphia 76ers at the top of the Eastern Conference.
With Durant suffering from a thigh contusion and James Harden still missing with a hamstring strain, it was left to the Nets' supporting cast to back up Irving.
Joe Harris finished with 24 points and Landry Shamet added 18 while Blake Griffin delivered 16 points from the bench. Bruce Brown added a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
"We needed everything tonight from everyone," said Irving. "I feel like we found something good in the second half."
Irving had taken responsibility after the Nets' scoring dried up down the stretch in an agonizing 109-107 defeat to Miami last Monday.
But the 29-year-old led from the front in the fourth quarter this time, piling up 15 points in the final period to get Brooklyn over the line.
Zion Williamson led the Pelicans scoring with 33 points while Brandon Ingram added 27. Lonzo Ball and Naji Marshall added 15 points apiece for New Orleans, who remain just outside playoff contention in the West on 25-33.
Elsewhere, Paul George scored 33 points as the Los Angeles Clippers staged a late rally to pip the injury-hit Portland Trail Blazers 113-112.
George scored the Clippers' final six points, including two nerveless free throws with 4.8 seconds remaining, to give Los Angeles their 41st win of the season.
"Tonight it just came down to defense," George said. "We weren't shooting the ball well, but both teams were scoring at a high clip.”
Also, the New York Knicks bagged a seventh straight victory as R.J. Barrett scored 24 points in a comfortable 10997 defeat of the Charlotte Hornets.
Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley each finished with 17 points while Julius Randle added 16 with 10 rebounds and seven assists to maintain the Knicks' push for the playoffs.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, meantime, toppled the Sacramento Kings 134-120; and the Atlanta Hawks zapped the Orlando Magic 112-96.