NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving scored 28 points and James Harden had 26 to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 113-106 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday.
Blake Griffin dunked for the first time since December 2019 in his Nets debut and Nicolas Claxton added 16 points, including two three-point plays down the stretch to help hold off the Wizards.
Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists for Washington.
After trailing by as many as 14 in the first half and 12 in the second, Washington pulled to 103-102 on Westbrook’s driving layup with 3 minutes remaining.
But, Claxton produced two dunks while being fouled off feeds from Irving over the final stretch as Brooklyn never relinquished the lead.
DeAndre Jordan scored 12 points and Joe Harris added 10 for the Nets, who have won 15 of their last 17 games.
Rui Hachimura had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards. Alex Len also had 20 points and Bradley Beal finished with 17.
Griffin played in his first game for the Nets since his buyout from the Pistons, checking in with 4:37 left in the first quarter.
Brooklyn trailed by as many as 14 points in the opening quarter and was behind 30-25 after the first quarter. Harden opened the second quarter by scoring the first nine points and the Nets never trailed again.
Brooklyn opened up its own game-high lead at 52-38 on Bruce Brown’s bucket with 4:54 left in the first half.
The Nets went on to lead 63-56 at halftime.
The Wizards pulled within four on Len’s dunk with just over 8 minutes left in the third quarter. A 9-1 Brooklyn run punctuated by Harden's short jumper put the Nets up 82-70.
Griffin scored his only points of the game on a driving dunk to open the final quarter as the Nets extended their advantage to 99-88. In 15 minutes, Griffin also added two rebounds and a block.
Wizards: Despite the loss, Washington took the season series 2-1, defeating the Nets 123-122 on Jan. 3 and 149-146 on Jan. 31. The Wizards also won last year’s series 2-1, the first time they have come out on top in consecutive seasons since 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Nets: Since losing to Detroit on Feb. 9, the Nets have the best record in the NBA (15-2). … Griffin had not played since Feb. 12, when he totalled 12 points, four rebounds and six assists in his final game with the Pistons in a 108-102 loss at Boston.
LAST MEN STANDING
Harris is the only member of the Nets to have played in each of the team’s 43 games this season. He has also started the most (39). Robin Lopez, who scored 10 points, is the only Washington player to see action in each of his team’s 41 games, only nine as a starter.
A total of 16 Wizards have started at least one game this season. Cassius Winston and Troy Brown Jr. were the only active players on Sunday’s roster who have not started a game for the team. The Nets have used 14 different starters this season, with no combination starting more than four consecutive games together. Brooklyn has used a league-high 21 starting lineups.
Wizards: Washington visits New York on Tuesday and Thursday.
Nets: Brooklyn visits Portland on Tuesday to begin a three-game road trip.
Jeffrey Bernstein, The Associated Press