Durant, Harden lead Nets to 138-112 romp over Bulls

Jan 12, 2022, 7:45 AM | Updated: 10:57 pm
Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving looks to drives past Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine (8) and Nikola Vucevic ...

Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving looks to drives past Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine (8) and Nikola Vucevic during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO (AP) — Kevin Durant knew the rest of the league had to be watching, curious to see just how good the Brooklyn Nets can be when they have all their superstars playing.

Well, here’s the answer.

Durant scored 27 points, James Harden added 25 points and a season-high 16 assists, and Brooklyn rolled to an easy win over Chicago, beating the Bulls 138-112 Wednesday night in a matchup between the Eastern Conference’s top two teams.

Durant had 17 points in the third to help Brooklyn break open a game that was tied at 71-all early in the quarter. The second-place Nets silenced a raucous crowd and came away with the win with all three superstars in the lineup for just the second time.

“We’re trying to make no statements to the league,” Durant said. “I mean, who cares what they think. We know what we bring to the table, and it’s all about us. But I’m sure people were watching the game tonight.”

Kyrie Irving scored nine in his third game. The seven-time All-Star has refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine and is barred from suiting up in New York due to the city’s mandate.

But Durant dominated over 30 minutes and finished with nine assists. Harden hit five 3-pointers. Patty Mills scored 21 and nailed of 6 of 8 from beyond the arc, helping Brooklyn come out on top after losing five of seven.

The Nets also avoided a three-game sweep by the Bulls. More than anything, they showed how dangerous they can be when they have all their best players available. That hasn’t happened often the past two years.

“We’re that good,” Harden said. “We have a chance to be that good. We just haven’t had enough of it.”

Zach LaVine scored 22. DeMar DeRozan added 19 points. But Chicago lost for the second time in three games after winning nine straight to match their best run since the end of the 2010-11 regular season. The Bulls also had their nine-game home win streak snapped.

“I think you own it,” coach Billy Donovan said. “I think our guys have worked hard up to this point to be where we are in the standings, and with that there’s a greater responsibility.”

The Nets outscored the Bulls 39-19 in the third to turn a two-point halftime lead into a 101-79 advantage.

Durant had 10 in about a two-minute span, including a 3 to make it 99-79 before Irving drove for a layup in the closing minute.

By then, the Nets were well on their way. They took control midway through the third with an 18-4 run to break open a game that was tied at 71, a 3-pointer by Mills making it 89-75.

“When that run happened, I think it was just a continuous sort of flow we had from the first half,” Irving said. “We just felt like once we break this open, hit a few more 3s, make it tough for them on the defensive end — we felt like we’d have control of the game.”

QUOTABLE

“I’m in Jersey. I go into the facility, into Brooklyn, to get my treatment, do workouts and then I go back home and I’m either with my son or my fiancee or both. If you only understood how many people support the Nets from my hometown and also from where I’m from, it’s a lot. Sometimes, it can be a little overwhelming. I can’t really go out and watch at a local bar or anything like that.” — Irving on where he watches Nets home games.

TIP-INS

Nets: Though Chicago has a similar mandate as New York City, an exception allowed Irving to play. It applies to visiting professional and college athletes as well as non-resident performance artists. … C Nic Claxton (left hamstring tightness) missed the game.

Bulls: Donovan had no update on F Derrick Jones Jr., who left with a right knee injury 36 seconds into the game. He twisted it pulling up near the Chicago basket and had to be helped to the back. … G Alex Caruso missed his 10th straight game and fourth since entering the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol. He missed the first six of them because of a sprained left foot, and Donovan does not expect him to play against Golden State on Friday.

UP NEXT

Nets: Host Oklahoma City on Thursday.

Bulls: Host Golden State on Friday.

___

More AP NBA coverage: 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

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge hits a two-run home run, his 61st homer of the season, next to Toront...
Associated Press

Aaron Judge’s 61st HR another murky milestone for MLB

Aaron Judge’s homers almost always impress, and No. 61 on Wednesday night was no exception — a laser-beam shot that landed in the Blue Jays bullpen amidst huge cheers from the crowd in Toronto. Baseball history was made and the joy was palpable. The New York Yankees slugger had just tied Roger Maris for the […]
15 hours ago
Philadelphia Phillies' Kyle Schwarber stands in the afternoon sun filtering into Wrigley Field duri...
Associated Press

Phillies lose 5th straight, Cubs sweep season series 6-0

CHICAGO (AP) — The Phillies lost their fifth straight game and dropped into a tie for the National League’s final wild card berth as the Chicago Cubs swept the season series from Philadelphia with a 2-0 victory on Thursday. Philadelphia was tied with Milwaukee at 83-72, pending the Brewers’ game against Miami later Thursday in […]
15 hours ago
Alex Bowman (48) drives during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Wort...
Associated Press

Bowman is 2nd driver to suffer concussion in Next Gen car

Alex Bowman will miss Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway with a concussion the Hendrick Motorsports driver apparently suffered last week at Texas. HMS said Bowman was evaluated Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina, and ruled out of this weekend’s playoff race. Noah Gragson will drive the No. 48 Chevrolet for Bowman. “I’m disappointed but know my […]
15 hours ago
Detroit Tigers' Javier Baez, right, celebrates his two-run home run with Riley Greene (31) in the f...
Associated Press

Castro, Báez homer, Tigers sweep Royals 10-3, escape cellar

DETROIT (AP) — Willi Castro and Javy Báez homered to lead Detroit over the Kansas City Royals 10-3 on Thursday for a three-game sweep that moved the Tigers out of last place in the AL Central. Detroit (63-92) has won six straight, matching its season high and ensuring the Tigers will not lose 100 games. […]
15 hours ago
Boston Red Sox's J.D. Martinez runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the eighth inning...
Associated Press

Martinez homers, Red Sox beat Orioles in 3rd straight, 5-3

BOSTON (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles arrived in Boston to face the last-place Red Sox with a chance to make a run at the postseason. They leave after losing three out of four and watching their AL wild-card hopes fall apart. “The guys are still fighting. We’re looking to make some noise,” right-hander Mike Bauman […]
15 hours ago
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Caleb Thielbar reacts during the eighth inning of a baseball game ag...
Associated Press

White Sox stop 8-game losing streak with 4-3 win vs. Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — In his fifth organization in five years, Mark Payton has needed plenty of patience to make it back to the major leagues. Just like his at-bat that led to the winning run and stopped the Chicago White Sox’s eight-game losing streak. Payton had two hits and an RBI and sparked an eighth-inning […]
15 hours ago
Durant, Harden lead Nets to 138-112 romp over Bulls