Nets reaction: Durant, Irving lead Nets to win over Suns

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Ajayi Browne
·4 min read
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Just hours before game time on Sunday, the Brooklyn Nets announced that Kevin Durant and Tyler Johnson were available. This only increased their chances of winning a huge game against one of the best teams in the Western Conference, a matchup that could push them 1.5 games ahead of the Sixers in the East.

Kyrie Irving led the way right off the tipoff, exploding for 14 points in the first quarter and 24 points for the half on 5-6 shooting. Kevin Durant entered the game in the second quarter at the eight minute mark and went to work. He got his game started with a tear drop in the lane fading left. The Nets found themselves down two points at halftime.

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In the second half, the Nets exploded to start off the third period. They scored 38 points in the the quarter alone as they rode a safe lead heading into the fourth quarter. This is where 7/11 put a stamp on the game. Kevin Durant made his first couple of shots and it sent a message to not only the Phoenix Suns, but the rest of the league, that he is back. He went on to score 33 points as Kyrie Irving finished with 34 points and 12 assists. Blake Griffin had a huge effort of his own with 16 points and 5 rebounds.

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With the win, Brooklyn improved to a league-best 20-6 versus Western Conference teams this season, and this gives them a winning percentage of 77 percent, the highest percentage since the 2012-13 Miami Heat (83%) according to Nets PR.

Kyrie Irving responds big time after a bad shooting game

Last game versus the Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving went 4-19 from the field, in one of his worst shooting performances of the season. Before this game against the Suns, he had to redeem himself and he did. Irving went 10-19 from the field for 34 points to get the win. It was team-high. If that isn't a perfect example of a bounce back game, then what is.

Kevin Durant will always have an instant impact in a return

Kevin Durant has missed over 30 games this season due to injury and yet every time he returns he does not display the typical rust that you would expect from any average player. That's the thing about Durant. He is nowhere close to being average. Before going out with an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals, it was clear that he was one of most lethal scorers in the game if not the best. Now as his career continues, he is only improving on that and challenging himself by trying to be more efficient. The reason why many are so surprised by this is because there was concern on if he would even come back the same following the Achilles injury.

This may very well be a NBA Finals matchup

With these two juggernauts battling and going back and forth, it's easy to see why this is a potential NBA Finals matchup. Rightfully so, the Suns are the second seed in the Western Conference while the Brooklyn Nets are the first seed in the Eastern Conference. If both teams can overcome their respective circumstances to get through to the Finals, this can very well be an entertaining 7-game series in a couple months. Chris Paul versus Kyrie Irving. Kevin Durant versus Devin Booker. Blake Griffin versus his former teammate Chris Paul. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Ayton even got chippy this game as they continued to battle for position in the post.

Tyler Johnson shined in his return as well

Tyler Johnson missed 10 games and he followed the missed time with a phenomenal performance off the bench. Johnson scored 8 points, dished out 2 assists and went 3-5 from the field to finished with a plus-minus of +12. His returned led to the absence of Timothe-Luwawu Cabarrot this game, a player who has been struggling to find his shot this season. If the Nets guard keeps this up, his made shots will make up for the missed shots that Cabarrot brought to the table this season. This may also spark a resurgence in TLC to get out of this slump he's in.

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