Player grades: Kevin Durant scores 39 as Nets beat Wizards
The Brooklyn Nets hosted the Washington Wizards on Wednesday and won 113-107 to move above .500 for the season. This game was much closer than the first game of this regular-season series and that was because of the Wizards being essentially full strength outside of missing Rui Hachimura and Delon Wright.
Kevin Durant had 39 points (13-20 from the field) and five assists for the Nets and Kyrie Irving had 27 points and five assists. Joe Harris had his three-point shot going in this game as he went 4-6 from three-point land to help him get to 14 points.
Kristaps Porzingis had 27 points and 19 rebounds for the Wizards while Bradley Beal had 25 points five rebounds. Kyle Kuzma also had 25 points and four rebounds to help the Wizards make a game out of this one.
In a tightly fought contest all the way through, the Nets were able to win this because of how well they shot from the three-point line (42.3%) and the free-throw line (92.3%). The Wizards shot 25% from three-point land and 67.6% from the charity stripe and that appeared to be the difference in this game.
Despite out-rebounding the Nets 51-35 and outscoring Brooklyn in the paint 58-32, the Wizards were unable to stop the Nets on defense. Here are the Nets’ player grades for this win:
Kevin Durant: A+
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Durant did whatever he wanted to do on the court in this game. He had several occasions where he just shot over whoever was guarding him by using his height and long arms. Durant was able to use his handle to attack on the dribble and was able to either use his patented mid-range pull-up or get to the rim to finish or draw a foul. Durant has some trouble guarding Kuzma since Kuzma was able to shoot over Durant a few times.
Kyrie Irving: B+
Irving had a rough time shooting the ball in the early going. He struggled with his three-point shot and had some trouble finishing at the rim with the likes of Porzingis protecting the rim. Irving seemed to develop an offensive rhythm after hitting a fadeaway over Morris. Irving did a good job of setting up his teammates while he was waiting for the game to come to him. Eventually, Irving got into the flow of things by using his patented handle to create space on his jumpers or get to the rim to show off some of his pretty finishes that he’s known for.
Royce O'Neale: B
O’Neale struggled to do anything offensively for the entire game. Knowing that his shot was not on, O’Neale did a good job of impacting the game in other ways such as swinging the ball to open teammates and helping rebound the basketball. O’Neale had some issues guarding Porzingis, but he gave a good effort of denying Porzingis any deep post position.
Nic Claxton: C+
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Claxton did not do much on the offensive end in this game, but he was vital in controlling with boards since he was the only true big for the Nets. Claxton did a good job of protecting the rim and picked up some blocks by being the help defender. Claxton’s main matchup was Porzingis, who had a good game, but Claxton was able to use his athleticism to prevent Porzingis from getting anything easy at the rim.
Joe Harris: B-
Harris did a good job of finding the open spot in the defense so that he could get some easy looks from three-point land. Harris missed a good amount of shots after he made his first three, but he did a good job of staying in the game and waiting for his chance to keep shooting the ball. Once Harris found a rhythm from thee, he was able to do other things with confidence like drive past his defender to hit a pull-up jumper or look for an open teammate. Harris competed fiercely on the defensive end.
Edmond Sumner: B
Sumner provided great energy off the bench when the Nets’ offense bogged down in the middle of the game. Sumner was able to hit some big shots when the Wizards were making their runs and those shots allowed the Nets to not fall behind and maintain some momentum until they found their groove on offense. Sumner played some smothering perimeter defense as he usually does and he picked up a couple of steals from that pressure.
Seth Curry: C-
Curry tried his best, but he was unable to get hot from the field. Curry is known for his ability to heat up fast, but he struggled hitting most of his shots as it looked like the length of the Wizards bothered him. The good thing is, Curry continued to look for his shot despite it not being his night and he provided some value in helping to rebound the basketball.
Markieff Morris: D
Morris provided some decent minutes off the bench, but coach Jacque Vaughn decided to go in a different direction to attack the Wizards’ defense. Morris did a good job of setting screens for Durant and was able to get open on the short roll at the free-throw line. However, Morris was not able to take advantage of this look very much which led to him staying on the bench.
Cam Thomas: C
Thomas hit a couple of shots, but he did not have his blow-up game like he is capable of. He did look for his shot and was able to put pressure on the defense and that was crucial down the stretch when the Nets needed scoring threats on the floor to keep the Wizards at bay. Also, with the way that the Wizards were pressuring the ball, Thomas provided value in being able to handle the ball and facilitate the offense.