For the Nets, Kyrie Irving scored 43 points and Durant scored 35 points with 11 rebounds and 8 assists.
Desmond Bane dropped 23 points as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Brooklyn Nets 132-120 on Wednesday night.
The talisman of the Memphis Grizzlies, Ja Morant missed the game due to soreness in the right knee. But that wasn’t a problem for the second-seeded team in the west as De’Anthony Melton and Desmond Bane both scored 23 points and Dillon Brooks also dropped 21 points. In total, Memphis had seven players reaching double figures.
Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said after the game, “Great example of just staying the course. We’ve been saying that throughout the season.”
When asked about their 15-2 record without Ja, he said, “Togetherness. That’s probably the biggest thing.”
Jenkins added, “The fourth quarter rolled around, and we adjusted our coverage. Our defensive activity really set a tone going from a 42-point (third quarter for Brooklyn) to a 16-points quarter. It really sparked our offense.”
The Grizzlies have a two-game lead over the Golden State Warriors, who are in third place.
The team from Memphis led 76-62 at halftime but Brooklyn relied on Durant and Kyrie to do their job. They made 16 of 22 shots in that period and led 104-103 when they entered the fourth quarter.
Durant said that their 14 turnovers coupled with 16 offensive rebounds from Memphis were hard to overcome. He said, “They are playing with freedom knowing (Morant) is not there so a lot of guys are playing with a free mind and spirit. You see it’s translating into buckets.”
This win was the 50th of the season for the Grizzlies and only the fourth time that Memphis has won that many and the first time since 2014-15.
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Meanwhile, On Thursday, New York City will reportedly roll back its private sector COVID-19 vaccine requirement to allow an exemption for athletes and performers at their workplace. This means that Irving will now be eligible to take on the Charlotte Hornets in Brooklyn’s next home game and that will come as a sigh of relief for Steve Nash and the Nets.
Politico reported, “On Thursday the mayor is expected to declare his decision to reverse the private-sector vaccine mandate specifically for performers and athletes in local venues, including Barclays Center — home to the Brooklyn Nets — and both Citi Field in Queens and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.”