NBA: Durant forced to leave as Nets lose to Raptors; Tatum helps Celtics beat Clippers
Kevin Durant was forced out of the Brooklyn Nets-Toronto Raptors game in the third quarter because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
With Kevin Durant forced out of the game in the third quarter because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Toronto Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 123-117 on Friday night behind 33 points from Pascal Siakam.
Durant’s first game against the Raptors since rupturing his Achilles tendon in the 2019 NBA Finals was a frustrating one for him and a confusing night for everyone. The superstar forward wasn’t available to start the game — entering as a reserve for the first time in his 867-game NBA career — then was told he had to depart in the third quarter.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said in a statement that Durant had tested negative three times in the last 24 hours, including two negative PCR tests Friday. He said someone whom Durant interacted with in the afternoon had an inconclusive test result return shortly before the game. Durant was initially held out while that result was being reviewed.
“During the game, a positive result was returned for the person Durant interacted with," Frank said.
"Once that test was confirmed positive, out of an abundance of caution, Durant was removed from the game.”
Frank said contact tracing is underway to determine if Durant was in close contact of the individual who tested positive.
Kyle Lowry added 30 points and seven assists for the Raptors. Siakam had 11 rebounds and six assists.
JAZZ 138, HORNETS 121
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 31 points, Donovan Mitchell had 30 and the Jazz beat the Hornets for their 14th victory in 15 games.
Rudy Gobert added 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz, who overcame an early 12-point deficit by outscoring the Hornets 39-22 in the second quarter.
Utah shot 26 of 50 from 3-point range, with Mitchell chipping in with five 3s.
LaMelo Ball had 34 points and eight assists for the Hornets. It was the first 30-point game by a Hornets rookie since Walter Herrmann in 2007.
Gordon Hayward had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Charlotte.
CELTICS 119, CLIPPERS 115
Jayson Tatum led a 3-point shooting spree and scored 34 points, helping the Celtics hold off the Clippers without Paul George in the Los Angeles lineup.
The Clippers sure could have used the NBA’s 3-point shooting leader. George, who is hitting 48% from long range, sat out with a sore right foot two nights after making 8 of 9 3-pointers in a win at Cleveland.
Kawhi Leonard had 28 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, but missed all five of his 3-point attempts. The team was 14 of 32 from long range.
Kemba Walker scored 24 points for the Celtics. They made 16 3-pointers — two off their season high. Tatum had five 3-pointers — one off his season best.
PELICANS 114, PACERS 113
Brandon Ingram scored 30 points to lead the Pelicans to the road win.
Lonzo Ball added 20 points and nine rebounds as New Orleans won for the fourth time in six games. Zion Williamson had 18 points, and Steven Adams finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Pelicans led by as many as 18, but Myles Turner’s 3-pointer got the Pacers within one with 39.1 seconds left.
Turner drove the lane in the final seconds, but his 5-foot jumper bounced off the outside of the rim and backboard.
Justin Holiday led Indiana with 22 points. Jeremy Lamb scored 17 points, and reserve T.J. McConnell had nine points and 15 assists.
BUCKS 123, CAVALIERS 105
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points, and Milwaukee won the opener of a six-game road trip that began with travel delays.
Antetokounmpo picked up two early fouls and started slowly. But the reigning NBA MVP found his groove in the second half, scoring 22 points and muscling his way inside for easy baskets.
Antetokounmpo added 12 rebounds and Dante DiVincenzo had 11 points, 11 boards and six assists for the Bucks, who outscored the Cavs 29-16 in the the fourth and won their third straight.
Collin Sexton scored 19 for Cleveland, and Andre Drummond had 18.
Milwaukee’s longest trip of the season’s first half began ominously. The Bucks were supposed to leave Thursday night, but mechanical issues with their plane while they were on the tarmac forced them to fly to Cleveland on game day.
SUNS 109, PISTONS 92
Devin Booker scored 23 points, Chris Paul added 20 points and nine assists, and the Suns rolled to the win.
Paul continued his high-production run of the past few weeks. The 10-time All-Star — who came to the desert in a trade with Oklahoma City during the offseason — is averaging more than 22 points over the past seven games, and the Suns have won four of them.
Frank Kaminsky added 15 points and five rebounds in his first start of the season as the Suns improved to 12-9.
Detroit lost for the eighth time in its last 10 games. Jerami Grant led the Pistons with 21 points.
HEAT 122, WIZARDS 95
Kendrick Nunn had 25 points and eight rebounds, and Miami shut down Washington's Bradley Beal in the win.
Bam Adebayo scored 21 for Miami, which lost 103-100 to Washington on Wednesday night. Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Herro each had 17 points.
Beal — the NBA’s scoring leader, averaging 34.8 points entering Friday — had seven points on 1-for-14 shooting. Alex Len scored 18 for the Wizards, and Russell Westbrook had 13.
Miami led by as many as 37, the biggest Heat lead of the season — and biggest Washington deficit of the season.
MAGIC 123, BULLS 119
Nikola Vucevic scored a career-best 43 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, heling Orlando stop a four-game losing streak.
Evan Fournier hit a baseline jumper and two free throws in the final 81 seconds to give the Magic enough breathing room for the win. Vucevic set his career high and sealed the win with two free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining.
Fournier had 20 points for Orlando, and rookie point guard Cole Anthony added 17 points and nine assists.
Chicago lost for the fifth time in six games. Zach LaVine scored 26 points for the Bulls on 9-for-21 shooting from the field. Rookie Patrick Williams had a career-best 20 points.
TIMBERWOLVES 106, THUNDER 103
D’Angelo Russell made a 3-pointer with 3.7 seconds remaining to lift Minnesota to the road win.
Russell dribbled near midcourt to let the clock run, took a couple of steps toward the basket and pulled up a few feet behind the 3-point arc for the winning shot. Oklahoma City’s Hamidou Diallo missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
Malik Beasley scored 24 points and Russell added 21 for the Timberwolves, who had lost nine of their previous 11 games.
Al Horford had 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Oklahoma City. Diallo added 16 points and a career-high 10 assists.
Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply
NBA: Nets stretch winning streak to eight; Joel Embiid wins duel against Luka Doncic as 76ers beat Mavs
Brooklyn are on their longest winning streak since 2006 and won their sixth straight contest without Kevin Durant with a strained left hamstring.
NBA: Jimmy Butler stars in Heat’s 124-116 win over Jazz; Celtics snap losing streak by beating Pacers
Butler also added 10 rebounds and eight assists to lead giant-killers Miami, who have toppled the NBA's two most recent champions in the past week
NBA: LeBron James opts for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant takes Kyrie Irving as first picks for All-Star Game
This is the fourth year of the NBA's playing captain format for the All-Star Game. James is 3-0, beating teams captained by Curry in 2018 and Antetokounmpo in the last two seasons.