Player grades: Kyrie Irving scores 29 in nail-biting 102-101 win over the Heat
The Brooklyn Nets take a trip to South Beach on Sunday to battle the Miami Heat and won 102-101. This is the first time that these teams have played each other this season.
For the Nets, Kyrie Irving had 29 points and six assists while Kevin Durant had 17 points and four rebounds despite leaving the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. Seth Curry had 14 points off the bench and Nic Claxton had 13.
For the Heat, Jimmy Butler had 26 points and nine rebounds while Tyler Herro had 24 points and four rebounds. Bam Adebayo had 10 points and Haywood Highsmith had 10 points as well.
This was a tightly contested game from the first buzzer to the last. Both teams were not playing much defense in the first half as points in bunches were coming in transition. Brooklyn did a poor job of boxing out as they allowed Miami to finish the game with 16 offensive rebounds.
In the second half, both teams played better defense as the intensity on both ends rose. Each shot became more important as the misses started piling up. Durant left this game in the third quarter after Jimmy Butler fell into his knee on a night that he became the 14th all-time career scorer in NBA history. Royce O’Neale called game on a huge offensive rebound and putback of an Irving miss.
Here are your Nets player grades:
Ben Simmons: C+
Simmons is not doing much in this game in terms of scoring the ball or even shooting it. Most people know that Simmons is not a guy to focus on getting shots up, but at some point, he has to in order to help lessen pressure off of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Despite that, Simmons was great in every other facet of the game. He was great on the boards, was awesome passing the ball especially in transition, and he was lockdown on defense for most of this game. He just has to shoot more.
Kyrie Irving: A-
Irving had a great scoring game, but he really slowed down in the second half. In the first half, Irving was electric as he was getting to wherever he wanted to get to on the floor and was hitting his threes as well. With that being said, Irving’s scoring slowed down significantly in the second half as the game turned into a defensive grind. With the absence of Kevin Durant in the third quarter, Irving had to be a scorer as well as a facilitator and that could be why his scoring production waned as the game went on. Irving competed on defense and made some plays, but he was getting blown by too many times and put the Nets’ defense in tough spots.
Kevin Durant: Incomplete
Durant was efficient from the field throughout the game, but he did not put up a lot of shots in this game. He was able to hit his mid-range looks and did a good job of getting to the free-throw line. Durant did not have much luck with this three-point shot. He did a good job on the boards and passing the ball, but his defense was lacking at times. In the end, Durant did not have a chance to do more for the Nets as he left this game at the end of the third quarter with a knee injury after Jimmy Butler fell into his leg.
Royce O'Neale: C+
O’Neale struggled on the offensive end. He wasn’t able to get a rhythm from the field in anyway and it may have something to do with the defensive intensity of the Heat. O’Neale had a good game rebounding the ball and playing defense, especially in the second half. Despite his poor shooting overall, O’Neale made the best play of the game by winning the game on an offensive rebound and putback that was just clutch.
Nic Claxton: B+
Claxton did a good job on the offensive end in this game. He started off this game slowly as he got into foul trouble and wasn’t able to get into a groove within the offense. At times, he looked hesitant when the ball came to him, but he got more comfortable as the game went on. Claxton was great on the glass and with protecting the rim, including the second half when the scoring bogged down a lot for both teams.
TJ Warren: B-
Warren did a good job of scoring the basketball off the bench. His three-point shot was working and he was aggressive in looking for shots in his sweet spots on the floor. He did a decent job rebounding and he competed on the defensive end. There were some times that he was blown by, but he did a good job of recovering when that happened.
Seth Curry: B+
Curry was great in this game scoring the ball, especially down the stretch. He wasn’t able to get his three-point shot to go, but he did a good job of taking advantage of his mid-range game and driving to the rim as well. Curry was decent on the boards and he played better defense than he usually does, which was crucial in the win.
Yuta Watanabe: C
Watanabe didn’t do much scoring in this game. With the way that the Heat were defending and mucking up the game, there wasn’t many opportunities for guys like Watanabe to get shots up. He did a good job playing defense in this game and he was clutch for the Nets down the stretch.
Joe Harris: D+
Harris did an okay job scoring the ball, but didn’t get up a lot of shots during his time on the floor. Harris did a good job of rebounding, but ultimately was unable to defend without fouling.