NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Kevin Durant had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Brooklyn Nets outlasted the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans 108-102 on Friday night.
Kyrie Irving scored 19 points, hitting a deep 3 with 44 seconds left to give the Nets a 106-100 lead and doom New Orleans to just its fifth home loss this season.
T.J. Warren scored 15 points for Brooklyn and Royce O’Neale added 14, including a 3-pointer with 2:27 left.
CJ McCollum scored 28 points and Naji Marshall had a career-high 23 points for the Pelicans in their second game since losing Zion Williamson for what is expected to be about three weeks with a right hamstring strain.
Jose Alvarado added 17 points, and Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which hasn’t had high-scoring forward Brandon Ingram (left great toe contusion) in the lineup for 20 games.
The Pelicans led for much of the game but struggled to hit shots in the second half, finishing at 39.8 % shooting (35 of 88). New Orleans made just two of 12 3s in the second half after making 10 of 17 in the first.
Brooklyn shot 43.5% (37- of 85), including 15 of 33 from deep.
After trailing by as many as 15 in the second quarter and 11 at halftime, the Nets opened the third quarter with a 17-5 run, capped by O’Neale’s second-chance 3, to take a 70-69 lead. The game remained tight from there into the final minutes.
Marshall helped the Pelicans get off to a fast start with 10 first-quarter points, highlighted by three 3-pointers, the last of those giving New Orleans a 24-14 lead.
After missing his first five shots, Durant made three of his next four, including a 3 that cut it to 28-27 at the end of the opening period.
Alvarado’s 3 and driving layup sparked an 11-0 run that gave the Pelicans a 43-28 lead in the second quarter, and New Orleans led 64-53 at halftime.
Nets: Have won four straight in New Orleans. … Have won six straight against Western Conference teams. … Improved to 24-8 since Jacque Vaughn took over as coach on Nov. 1, first on an “acting” basis before that word was removed from his title on Nov. 9.
Pelicans: Trey Murphy III scored 11 points. … Marshall has scored 20 or more in three games this season. … With Three Kings Day marking the start of the Carnival season that runs through Mardi Gras day, the Pelicans debuted their “city edition” uniforms featuring the purple, green and gold colors that have been associated with Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans since the 1870s.