Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant shoots over Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
NEW YORK — Kevin Durant scored 39 points and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Washington Wizards 113-107 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory.
Durant was 13 for 20 from the field and hit all 11 of his free throws in 37 minutes after scoring a season-high 45 points Monday night in a victory over Orlando.
“I am just playing care-free basketball,” Durant said. “I think that’s the best way to play. sometimes when you want to win too much you get in your way, you distract yourself, you worry about the results too much.”
Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and Joe Harries had 14. Brooklyn has won five in a row at home.
Irving lauded Durant’s play during the Nets streak in which the All Star forward has averaged 41.7 points during Brooklyn’s streak.
“We (have) seen Kevin go on a 30-point barrage when he won the MVP, right?’ Irving said. “Hopefully, he keeps it up and keeps averaging 40.”
Nets coach Jacque Vaughn praised Durant’s performance and cautioned that he makes sure he doesn’t take him for “granted.”
“The fact that he shows up every single day, he’s ready to work, he’s ready to listen, he’s ready to be a great teammate,” Vaughn said.
Kristaps Porzingis had 27 points and 19 rebounds for Washington. Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma each had 25 points for the Wizards, who have lost four of their last five games.
Washington has lost the two games it has played against the Nets this season and on both occasions had trouble stopping Durant, who has averaged 33.4 against them.
“He’s the best player in the world,” Porzingis said about Durant. “He’s very hard to stop especially if he’s feeling good, he’s getting to the line, he’s getting and-1s and he’s coming off a 45-point game also? His confidence probably never wavers.”
The Nets led by just three points at the start of the fourth quarter before pulling away with an 11-5 run while Durant rested on the bench.
Irving’s 3-point play extended the Nets’ lead 88-81 with 8:54 left. He then hit a 3-pointer to make it 93-84 and force the Wizards to call a timeout with 7:17 remaining.
The Wizards managed to make it a five-point game on a pair of free throws from Jordan Goodwin. Brooklyn then went on a 10-4 spurt capped by Irving’s second 3 of the quarter that put the Nets up 105-94 with 2:15 left.
Kuzma made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 111-107 with eight seconds, but Durant was fouled on the ensuing possession and hit a pair of free throws.
Wizards: Washington outrebounded the Nets 51-34. … The Wizards have lost four consecutive road games. … Washington outscored the Nets 58-32 in the paint.
Nets: Ben Simmons will miss at least the next three games with what the Nets said is a strained left upper calf. Coach Jacque Vaughn said before the game that Simmons was feeling pain in the back of his knee when he asked to come out of their victory over Orlando on Monday night. The injury turned out to be the calf, not the knee. Simmons also will miss home games against Toronto on Friday and Boston on Sunday before he is reassessed.
SPINDLERUV MLYN, Czech Republic — American skier Mikaela Shiffrin had what she called a "perfect run" to lead a women's World Cup slalom after the opening leg Sunday as she approached the all-time record for the most career wins with 86.
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