Kevin Durant (31 points), Nets put away Blazers late

Kevin Durant scored 31 points as the Brooklyn Nets opened a seven-game homestand by pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 111-97 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday afternoon.

Durant made 12 of 20 shots as the Nets completed its first season sweep of Portland since the 2012-13 season. Unlike their two-point win in Portland decided on Royce O’Neale’s tip-in in the final second on Nov. 17, the Nets surged ahead after the game featured 16 lead changes and nine ties through the opening three quarters.

Seth Curry helped the Nets pull away by adding 13 of his season-high 29 points in the fourth when the Nets outscored Portland 27-17. He hit three of his seven 3s in the opening 6:45 of the fourth when Durant rested and finished with his most points since being acquired from Philadelphia at last year’s trade deadline.

Kyrie Irving added 22 as the Nets shot 52.6 percent, made 15 3s and allowed under 100 points for the sixth time this season. Nic Claxton contributed 12 points and seven rebounds while Ben Simmons chipped in 12 rebounds and eight assists.

Jerami Grant followed up his career-high 44 points in Friday’s overtime win over the Knicks by leading Portland with 29 points. Jusuf Nurkic collected 17 points and 14 rebounds, but Anfernee Simons was held to 15 on 4-of-14 shooting after scoring 38 Friday night as Portland shot 44.3 percent.

Brooklyn shot nearly 57 percent and held a 31-24 lead through the opening quarter after Irving hit a 13-footer with 17.6 seconds remaining. Portland began the second with a 16-4 run that gave them a 40-35 lead before Durant returned with 6:14 remaining. Brooklyn took a 58-57 lead at halftime following two free throws by Claxton with 11.4 seconds left.

Durant’s 12-footer snapped a 74-all tie with 4:03 left and Joe Harris converted a four-point play to make it 80-74 with 3:05 before the Nets took an 84-80 lead into the fourth. Curry’s third 3 of the fourth opened a 96-87 lead with 6:45 left and the Nets took their first double-digit lead when Durant’s 3 made it 101-90 with 4:20 to go.

Brooklyn then finished it off when Durant found Irving for an open corner 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 105-92 with 2:37 remaining.


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