NEW YORK (AP) — 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 New York Knicks 112-85 on Wednesday night after making Jacque Vaughn their head coach.
Durant beat the Knicks for the 13th straight time, and he’s had triple-doubles in the last two. 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.
New York’s basketball rivalry remained no rivalry at all, with the Nets beating the Knicks for the eighth straight time. It matches their second-longest winning streak against the Knicks, three shy of an 11-game run from 1984-86.
The Nets decided to stick with Vaughn earlier in the day after showing signs of progress since he replaced Steve Nash following 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.
Julius Randle had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks, who trailed by as much as 35.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James scored 30 points before leaving the court with pain in his left leg late in the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to the Clippers.
James felt discomfort in his leg and groin shortly after he backed down Paul George to draw a foul in the paint with less than five minutes to play. James sat out Monday at Utah to rest the persistent pain in his left foot, but was having one of his best games this season before his latest physical setback.
James, on pace to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar this season to become the NBA’s career scoring leader, hit four 3-pointers and added eight rebounds and five assists against the Clippers while finishing one shy of his season high in points.
George scored 29 points as the Clippers extended their recent domination of their arena roommates with their ninth consecutive victory over the Lakers. Norman Powell added 18 for the Clippers, who had seven scorers in double figures during their fifth victory in the past six games without injured star Kawhi Leonard, who missed his 10th game this season.
The Clippers are unbeaten in the city rivalry since July 2020 and still perfect against the Lakers under coach Tyronn Lue, who took over in October 2020.
Anthony Davis had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who dropped to 2-9 with their fourth consecutive defeat.
CELTICS 128, PISTONS 112
BOSTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum had 31 points and five assists as Boston beat Detroit for its fourth straight victory.
Cade Cunningham was 1 of 11 from the field and finished with a season-low four points. It was the first time this season he’s failed to reach double figures. He was averaging a team-best 21.4 points per game.
JAZZ 125, HAWKS 119
ATLANTA (AP) — Lauri Markkanen scored a season-high 32 points and Utah recovered after blowing a 15-point lead to beat Atlanta.
Jordan Clarkson had 23 points, his fifth straight game with at least 20, to give the Western Conference-leading Jazz (10-3) their fourth straight win.
The Jazz made 17 3-pointers, including six by Malik Beasley, who had 18 points, and six by Markkanen.
NUGGETS 122, PACERS 119
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored 24 points in 21 minutes to help Denver erase an 18-point deficit in the second half against Indiana.
Jokic was in foul trouble most of the night and sat from the 11:02 mark of the third quarter until early in the fourth with five fouls. But when the Nuggets needed him most, the two-time NBA MVP pulled them through.
Denver has won four straight and six of seven. Aaron Gordon had 18 points and tied a career best with 17 rebounds.
Indiana led most of the second half but struggled to stop Jokic and Denver’s 3-point shooters down the stretch. Myles Turner missed a 3 at the buzzer that would have forced overtime.
RAPTORS 116, ROCKETS 109
TORONTO (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 12 of his season-high 32 points in the fourth quarter to lead Toronto past Houston.
O.G. Anunoby matched his season best with 27 points and added 10 rebounds for the Raptors. Otto Porter Jr. scored 14 points, Scottie Barnes had 13 and Gary Trent Jr. 11 as Toronto improved to 5-1 at home.
VanVleet made a season-high seven 3-pointers, going 7 for 16 from long range.
TRAIL BLAZERS 105, HORNETS 95
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Damian Lillard overcame a slow start to finish with 26 points, including six 3-pointers, and Portland handed Charlotte its sixth straight loss.
Anfernee Simons scored 19 points and Shaedon Sharpe had 17 off the bench for the Trail Blazers. They shot 53.3% and rallied from a 12-point deficit in the third quarter to improve to 3-1 on their six-game trip.
MAGIC 94, MAVERICKS 87
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Franz Wagner scored 22 points and Orlando held Dallas star Luka Doncic under 30 points for the first time this season.
Doncic, the NBA’s leading scorer, finished with 24 points after scoring 30 or more in each of the Mavericks’ first nine games. He shot 9 for 29 overall and 2 of 11 from 3-point range.
Spencer Dinwiddle had 29 points for the Mavericks, who were outrebounded 49-29.
The start of the game was moved up by 90 minutes due to the approach of Hurricane Nicole.
PELICANS 115, BULLS 111
CHICAGO (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half, including seven straight late in the fourth quarter, and New Orleans pulled out a victory over Chicago.
Ingram hit a 3-pointer that gave the Pelicans a 109-107 lead. DeMar DeRozan’s dunk tied it, but Ingram countered with a mid-range basket and the Bulls committed a turnover with 17.4 seconds left.
DeRozan, who scored a season-low nine points Monday, led the Bulls with 33. Zach LaVine added 23.
GRIZZLIES 124, SPURS 122, OT
The Grizzlies handed the Spurs their fifth consecutive loss and won their seventh straight over San Antonio.
SUNS 129, TIMBERWOLVES 117
Despite playing without Chris Paul (right heel soreness) and starting forward Cameron Johnson, the Suns led by 27 to rebound from a disappointing loss at Philadelphia two nights earlier.
Gobert scored 13 of his 25 points in the third quarter. Towns finished with 11. Jaden McDaniels had a career-high 24 points to lead the Timberwolves.
BUCKS 136, THUNDER 132, 2 OT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Jevon Carter had career highs of 36 points and 12 assists as Milwaukee outlasted Oklahoma City in double overtime.
The short-handed Bucks were missing their top two scorers. Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out with a sore left knee and Jrue Holiday was sidelined with a sprained right ankle. Carter filled the scoring void by making 15 of 27 field goals, including 5 of 10 3-pointers.
Brook Lopez added 24 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks for the Bucks, who were coming off their first loss this season after starting 9-0.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 39 points and Josh Giddey added 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Thunder, who lost their fourth straight.
KINGS 127, CAVALIERS 120
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Domantas Sabonis scored 21 points and Sacramento overcame another big performance by Donovan Mitchell to beat Cleveland.
Mitchell scored 38 points on 16-of-28 shooting as the Cavaliers lost their second in a row following an eight-game winning streak. He began the game averaging 31.2 points per game this season.
Harrison Barnes had a season-high 19 points for the Kings. He had zero points in their loss to Golden State on Monday.
De’Aaron Fox added 15 points and eight assists for Sacramento.
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The Associated Press