Nets bounce back with come-from-behind win over Pelicans

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
Jan 6, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) defends the basket against New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) during the first half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving came through in the clutch again.

Irving drilled the game-sealing three-pointer with 43.7 seconds left to complete the Nets’ comeback win over the shorthanded New Orleans Pelicans, 108-102, Friday night on the road.

Kevin Durant paced the Nets with 33 points and 11 rebounds, his 111th 30-point, 10-rebound career game to pass Tim Duncan for 13th-most since the NBA-ABA merger. He added three assists, with the last one setting up Irving for the clutch three-pointer.

Irving added 19 points and five assists. He followed through on his postgame remark, “take this one on the chin like a man and get ready,” in their loss in Chicago that snapped their 12-game winning streak.

Irving scored Brooklyn’s final seven points to outlast the Pelicans, who led by as many as 15 in the second quarter.

The Pelicans controlled the first half despite missing their top two players, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. But when the Nets stars took over in the fourth quarter, the Pelicans folded.

CJ McCollum led New Orleans with 28 points but scored only five in the final quarter.

Royce O’Neale rebounded from a scoreless performance against the Bulls with 14 points, spiked by four triples. His last three-pointer gave Brooklyn a 101-97 lead with 2:27 remaining.

Ben Simmons logged a game-high 10 assists with six points and six rebounds, while T.J. Warren led the Nets bench with 15 points. Warren’s final basket, a reverse layup, tied the game at 90 at the 7:38 mark of the fourth quarter.

Their bounce-back win enabled the Nets (26-13) to reclaim the solo second spot in the Eastern Conference following Milwaukee’s 138-109 loss to Charlotte.

The Nets will wrap up their road trip in Miami on Sunday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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