Kevin Durant-less Nets pull out win over Magic
James Harden scored 13 of his 36 points in the third quarter and the Brooklyn Nets survived some shaky moments in the fourth before eking out a 115-113 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night in New York.
The Nets won for the 10th time in 12 games and also survived star Kevin Durant missing his first game of the season. Durant sat out due to a sprained right shoulder he initially injured Nov. 8 in a 118-95 loss to the host Chicago Bulls.
Harden shot just 7 of 25 from the floor but added 10 rebounds and eight assists. Brooklyn’s Patty Mills scored 22 points while James Johnson contributed 17.
📼 | The Beard lookin' sharp vs. the Magic pic.twitter.com/JsYSyHmxab
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 20, 2021
LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in 11 of his 15 in the fourth for the Nets, who shot 45.1 percent from the floor. Brooklyn also was without Joe Harris (sprained left ankle), and Bruce Brown exited with a hamstring injury in the second half.
Rookie Jalen Suggs scored 17 of his 21 points in Orlando’s 41-point first quarter. Chuma Okeke and rookie Franz Wagner added 17 apiece while Cole Anthony added 16 and Terrence Ross had 15 for Orlando, which shot 44.9 percent.
Harden helped the Nets overcome a 19-point deficit and totally control the third quarter to turn a 62-53 halftime deficit into a 90-83 lead entering the fourth. Brooklyn outscored Orlando 37-21 in the third quarter, when it made 13 of 19 shots.
Despite dominating the third, the Nets struggled to finish it off until the final seconds.
A 15-footer by Anthony put Orlando up 101-99 with 6:44 remaining, and it was 104-104 following a 3-pointer by Wagner with 5:11 left. After Aldridge blocked an Anthony shot near the rim, Harden hit two free throws with 4:21 left to give the Nets the lead for good at 106-104.
Orlando was within 110-109 on a layup by Anthony with 35.1 seconds left, but Aldridge hit a 6-footer through traffic with 17 seconds left to make it a three-point game. It was 114-112 after Suggs hit a layup with seven seconds left, and Harden split a pair at the line with 4.8 seconds left.
Anthony made a free throw with 3.2 seconds left, but the Nets got the ball after Anthony missed the second, and they dribbled out the clock.