NEW YORK (AP) — New coach, same result in a New York basketball rivalry that's become no rivalry at all.
Kevin Durant had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, becoming the first player since Michael Jordan to score at least 25 points in his team's first 12 games, and the Brooklyn Nets routed the Knicks 112-85 on Wednesday night after making Jacque Vaughn their head coach.
It was the second romp in the last four games for a Nets team that has responded so well to Vaughn that it decided not to pursue suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka.
“We don’t want this to be a honeymoon stage for us,” Durant said. “We want to continue to keep pushing through, keep finding ways to get better, finding ways to turn those weaknesses to strengths and keep pushing from here.”
Durant beat the Knicks for the 13th straight time, and he's had triple-doubles in the last two of them. His rebounds and assists were both season highs, and his usual scoring extended a streak that is the longest since Jordan opened the 1988-89 season with 16 consecutive games of 25 points.
The Nets beat the Knicks for the eighth straight time. It matches their second-longest winning streak ever against the Knicks, three shy of an 11-game run from 1984-86.
The Nets decided to stick with Vaughn earlier Wednesday after showing signs of progress since he replaced Steve Nash after a 2-5 start.
They are 3-2 since and have held their last four opponents below 100 points, the first time Brooklyn has done that since an eight-game stretch in the 2014-15 season. He pointed to their rebounding, after outrebounding the Knicks 55-46.
“So if we can focus on defensive rebounding, we can take a big jump on the defensive end,” Vaughn said. “We’ve already taken a big jump last four games, teams under 100 points, which has been great. So definitely concerted effort.”
Julius Randle had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks, who were coming off an impressive performance in Minnesota on Monday but trailed by as much as 35 in this one.
“We weren’t ourselves tonight,” Knicks forward RJ Barrett said. “Over the course of 82 games, game like this is going to happen, but we can’t make this a habit.”
Brooklyn jumped to a 24-8 lead on Sumner’s 3-pointer and kept the margin there after one quarter, leading 38-22. Curry’s 3-pointer gave the Nets their first 20-point lead at 50-30, and another 3-pointer by Joe Harris gave them a 69-44 lead, matching the largest halftime margin in the teams' history.
Durant improved to 20-3 in games he's played against the Knicks, who haven't beaten him since 2013 when he was still in Oklahoma City.
Nets: General manager Sean Marks said before the game he had no update on Irving, saying he hadn't spoken to the point guard, only his representatives. .... Durant had his 17th career triple-double and fifth as a Net. ... Nic Claxton had 12 points. ... Ben Simmons finished with six points and nine rebounds.
Knicks: Host Detroit on Friday.
Nets: At the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
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Brian Mahoney, The Associated Press