Durant moves into NBA’s top 25, Nets beat Celtics 123-104

Nov 24, 2021, 5:17 AM | Updated: 9:59 pm
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics forward Jabari P...

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics forward Jabari Parker (20) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (AP) — Kevin Durant grew up in the Washington, D.C., area looking up to Allen Iverson as he led Georgetown to back-to-back trips to the NCAA Sweet 16.

Now the Nets forward is looking down at the Hall of Famer from the top 25 of the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

“Iverson, he was in the Pantheon for me. One of those guys I emulated every time I went outside,” Durant said on Wednesday night after surpassing Iverson’s career total and leading Brooklyn to a 123-104 victory over the Boston Celtics.

“To pass him on the list, to end up there with some of the greats on that list is incredible,” said Durant, who entered the night with 24,367 points, one behind Iverson, and passed him on a jumper in the first two minutes. “I’ve just got to keep going.”

Patty Mills scored 23, and James Harden had 20 points and 11 assists for Brooklyn. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 17 points with nine rebounds for the Nets, who have won four in a row, seven out of eight and 12 of their last 14 games.

Marcus Smart had 20 points and eight assists for Boston, which had won three in a row. Jayson Tatum had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics, who cut a 29-point, third-quarter lead to 12 early in the fourth, but could get no closer.

It was Brooklyn’s first visit to Boston since completing a Game 4 victory in the first round of last season’s playoffs.

“It’s a quality road win against a team that’s been playing great basketball,” Nets coach Steve Nash said.

The Nets opened an 11-point lead midway through the first quarter and led by as many as 17 in the second before taking a 62-49 lead into the half. They scored 18 of the first 21 points in the third and led 97-68 before Boston scored the last eight points of the quarter.

Boston scored the first eight points in the fourth to cut it to 97-85. But Mills assisted on James Johnson’s jumper, then hit a 3-pointer to extend the lead.

KEEP IT DOWN

Nash had just finished explaining how these Nets were the quietest team he’s ever had when a ruckus erupted from the coaches’ locker room next door.

“Keep it down in there,” guard James Harden said with a laugh, banging on the wall as he followed Nash in the postgame news conference. “I’m doing media.”

Nash said he is starting to feel his team become more vocal.

“They’re one of the quietest teams I’ve ever been around,” he said. “We’re not a loud group, but the spirit is growing. The guys are starting to come together and find the joy in playing together.”

OLD FRIENDS

The last time Brooklyn visited Boston, ex-Celtic Kyrie Irving was hit with a water bottle as the team left the court. Irving has not played this season due to his refusal to comply with COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

New Celtics coach Ime Udoka was a Nets assistant last season. Harden stopped by the Boston bench before the game for a handshake, but Durant preferred to exchange trash talk with the coach who was also an assistant on the U.S. Olympic team.

“Coming into Boston’s a tough place to play,” Durant said. “Now that Ime’s here makes it even sweeter.”

MORE MILESTONES

Tatum went 1 for 9 from 3-point range, but his make gave him 650 in his career and moved him ahead of Larry Bird and into fifth on the Celtics’ all-time list. Smart, who made three on Wednesday, is fourth with 702.

TIP-INS

Next up on the scoring list for Durant is Ray Allen, who has 24,505 points. … Hall of Famer Bill Russell was at the game, sitting courtside under the basket at the Nets end of the court. … Udoka picked up a technical foul leaving the court at halftime. Durant shot the free throw before the start of the third quarter, and missed it. … Harden stopped by the Boston bench before the game to say hello to Udoka, who was a Nets assistant last season.

UP NEXT

Nets: Host Phoenix on Saturday.

Celtics: Play at San Antonio on Friday night.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A person wears a mask while walking past a flower display in front of a supermarket on Front Street...
Associated Press

Canada won’t require masks on planes, drops vaccine mandate

TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian government announced Monday it will no longer require people to wear masks on planes to guard against COVID-19.. Transport Canada said the existing rules for masks will come off Oct. 1 “We are able to do this because tens of millions of Canadians rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated,” […]
1 day ago
United States' Kelsey Plum, right, and China's Li Meng compete for the ballduring their game at the...
Associated Press

China eyeing a medal for first time in 28 years

SYDNEY (AP) — It’s been 28 years since China last won a medal at the World Cup, finishing second in the 1994 games. With a dominant inside presence, led by Han Xu and Li Yueru, plus talented shooters and quick guards, the Chinese team has gotten off to a strong start in Australia and could […]
1 day ago
FILE - Jimmie Johnson sits in his pit box before the final practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto r...
Associated Press

AP Exclusive: Jimmie Johnson to retire from full-time racing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson is retiring from full-time racing and will turn his focus toward spending time with family. He figures his future schedule will include no more than 10 bucket-list events, but the 47-year-old had no idea Monday what that schedule will look like. Johnson told The Associated Press […]
1 day ago
Australia's Sami Whitcomb reacts after shooting a goal during their game at the women's Basketball ...
Associated Press

Australia hands Canada its first loss of World Cup, 75-72

SYDNEY (AP) — Ezi Magbegor had 16 points and five blocks to help Australia beat Canada 75-72 on Monday night in the women’s World Cup. The win caused a log-jam atop Group B with Australia, Canada and France all with three wins with one game left for each team. “We knew coming into this it […]
1 day ago
FILE - NFC tight end George Kittle, right, of the San Francisco 49ers, catches a pass in front of A...
Associated Press

NFL ends Pro Bowl; skills competitions, flag game instead

The NFL is replacing the Pro Bowl with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game, The Associated Press has learned. The new event will replace the full-contact showcase started in 1951. It will be renamed “The Pro Bowl Games” and will feature AFC and NFC players showcasing their football and non-football skills in challenges […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani flies out during the first inning of the team's baseball game agai...
Associated Press

Ohtani vs. Judge the latest of baseball’s great MVP races

When Shohei Ohtani is pitching impressively and hitting over 30 homers, he might always be the MVP favorite unless another player in his league comes up with something awfully special. Like hitting 60 home runs, for example. Ohtani vs. Aaron Judge for the American League MVP figures to be the most hotly debated postseason award […]
1 day ago
Durant moves into NBA’s top 25, Nets beat Celtics 123-104