The Brooklyn Nets defeated the shorthanded Charlotte Hornets 98-94 on Saturday night thanks to 27 points from Kevin Durant, moving to 2-0 following Kyrie Irving’s suspension. Following a seven-game absence, Terry Rozier led Charlotte with 25 points with six 3-pointers.
Since the league’s Genius Stats scoring system collapsed in Charlotte during the third quarter, further numbers were not instantly visible after the game. The public relations team started gathering more data right away.
As the fourth quarter got underway, the Hornets stormed the Nets 17-6 to grab an 11-point lead and looked like they were going to run away with it. Nick Richards added a three-point play, Rozier converted a free throw after Nic Claxton received a technical foul for challenging a call, and Rozier sank two 3-pointers in quick succession.
However, the Nets roared back behind Cam Thomas and Durant. After Joe Harris’ corner three-pointer cut the deficit to two, they knotted the score when Thomas intercepted a pass at midcourt and was subsequently fouled while attempting to make a layup. With 2:40 minutes left, he converted both of his free throw attempts.
Before P.J. Washington made a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Charlotte a 92-91 edge with about a minute remaining, Thomas had given the Nets the advantage on a drive.
Durant took charge afterward
The Nets took the lead permanently after Durant scored a clutch 3-pointer from the right wing. He later added a baseline jump shot to increase the margin to four.
With 27 seconds left, Mason Plumlee reduced the deficit in half after Rozier’s 3-point attempt was tipped, and with 14 seconds left, Thomas made two free throws to get the score within two possessions.
On the opposing end, Rozier missed two 3-point attempts, but the Nets (4-6) managed to win.
“I think we have rallied around each other,” Durant said. “It’s been a tough week for us and it’s good just to get back to the game. Once the ball is tipped (everything else) goes out the window. We were just waiting to get back to playing. We showed some pride.”