LOS ANGELES (AFP) ‒ Kyrie Irving delivered a 40-point masterpiece as the Brooklyn Nets won a thriller against the New York Knicks in the “Battle of the Big Apple.”
A wild encounter saw the lead change hands 15 times, and Brooklyn clawed back a 14-point second quarter deficit to grab the win.
But the Nets’ victory celebrations were muted by the early exit of star James Harden, who played just four minutes before leaving the game with tightness in his right hamstring.
The Nets are already without Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Tyler Johnson and Landry Shamet.
Nets coach Steve Nash said the team had withdrawn Harden as a precaution, and said there was no indication yet of a long-term injury problem. A strength test carried out in the locker room had shown no sign of an injury, Nash added.
“There was just an awareness that something’s not right in his hammy,” Nash said. “His strength tests were normal.
“It’s just something that we have to protect him. It’s very frustrating for James but we can’t risk it if we can afford not to. I thought the right decision was not to take any risks.
Irving’s virtuoso display, meanwhile, received backing from Jeff Green with 23 points, while Joe Harris had 16 points. Alize Johnson also cracked double figures with 12 points from the bench.
Irving was relieved that a late-game turnover did not prove costly.
Minnesota 116, Sacramento 106
Detroit 132, Oklahoma City 108
Phoenix 133, Houston 130
Cleveland 125, San Antonio 101
Toronto 103, Washington 101
Dallas 111, Utah 103
Brooklyn 114, New York 112
MAVS STOP JAZZ
Luka Doncic scored 31 points as the Dallas Mavericks shrugged off the injury absence of Kristaps Porzingis to snap Utah’s nine-game winning streak on Monday.
Slovenian star Doncic spearheaded a superb offensive performance for the Mavs in a dominant 111-103 victory over the Western Conference leaders, who had been chasing a 10th straight win.
Doncic’s tally included six three-pointers, while the 22-year-old prodigy also hauled down nine rebounds with eight assists.
It was a hugely impressive fifth consecutive victory for the Mavs, who improved to 28-21 to remain in seventh place in the West.
Dallas had been jolted by confirmation just hours before tip-off that Porzingis would miss Monday’s game with a sprained right wrist.
But the Mavs made light of the reshuffle with Dorian Finney-Smith weighing in with 23 points ‒ including five from outside the arc ‒ and Jalen Brunson adding 20 off the bench.
Josh Richardson finished with 17 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. 16 points.
Dallas steadily took control after edging into a 27-25 lead at the end of the first quarter, and pulled away decisively by outscoring the Jazz 37-27 in the third period.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said his team had been determined to ask more questions of Utah after suffering a 120-101 defeat to the Western Conference pace-setters in January.
Utah, whIC owns the league’s best record with 38 wins against 12 defeats, saw star playmaker Donovan Mitchell effectively bottled up for long periods.
Mitchell finished with 16 points and four assists. Mike Conley led the Utah scorers with 28 points, while Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson had 16 apiece off the bench.