Durant moved into the top 25 in the NBA, the Nets beat the Celtics 123-104
Boston Kevin Durant grew up in the Washington DC area looking at Allen Iverson as he led Georgetown to back-to-back trips to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Now, the Nets striker looks down the Hall of Famer of the NBA’s top 25 scorer list.
“Iverson, he was in the Pantheon for me,” Durant said Wednesday night after overtaking Iverson’s career total and leading Brooklyn to a 123-104 win over the Boston Celtics.
“Passing him on the list, to end up there with some of the greats on that list is incredible,” said Durant, who entered the night with 24,367 points, one behind Iverson, and passed him on the jump in the first two minutes. . “I just have to keep going.”
Patty Mills scored 23 points and James Harden 20 points and made 11 assists for Brooklyn. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 17 points with nine rebounds for the Nets, who have won four consecutive points, seven of eight and 12 of their last 14 games.
Marcus Smart scored 20 points and eight assists for Boston, who won three points in a row. Jason Tatum scored 15 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics, who cut 29 points in the third quarter to take a 12-point lead early from fourth but couldn’t get any closer.
This was Brooklyn’s first visit to Boston since completing his Game 4 win in the first round of the playoffs last season.
“It’s a great win over a team that was playing great basketball,” said Nets coach Steve Nash.
The Nets opened an 11-point lead midway through the first quarter and led by as much as 17 points a second before leading 62-49 in the first half. They scored 18 of their first 21 points in third and led 97-68 before Boston scored the last eight of the quarter.
Boston scored the first eight points in fourth place to reduce it to 97-85. But Mills helped jump James Johnson, then hit 3-pointers to expand the lead.
Nash had just finished explaining how the Nets were the quietest team he had ever faced when a brawl broke out from the neighboring coaches’ locker room.
“Keep it there,” said goalkeeper James Harden, laughing and banging on the wall as he followed Nash into the post-match press conference. “I do the media.”
Nash said he’s starting to feel his team is getting more outspoken.
“It’s one of the quietest bands I’ve ever been on,” he said. “We are not a noisy group, but the spirit grows. The men began to come together and find pleasure in playing together.”
The last time Brooklyn visited Boston, former Celtic teammate Keri Irving was hit by a water bottle as the team left the field. Irving has not played this season due to his refusal to comply with COVID-19 vaccination decisions.
New Celtics coach Im Odoka served as the Nets’ assistant last season. Harden stopped off the bench in Boston before the game for a handshake, but Durant preferred to exchange trash talk with the coach who was also an assistant on the US Olympic team.
“Coming into Boston is a tough place to play,” Durant said. “Now that I’m here makes it even sweeter.”
Tatum went 1 for 9 out of a 3-point range, but his making gave him the 650th in his career and put him ahead of Larry Bird and placed fifth on the Celtics all-time list. Smart, who scored three goals on Wednesday, came fourth with a score of 702.
He is followed by Ray Allen in the scoring list for Durant, who has 24,505 points. …Hall of Famer Bill Russell was in the game, seated on the court under the basket at the end of the court from the Nets. … Udoka made a technical foul that left the field in the first half. Durant hit the free throw before the start of the third quarter and missed it. …Harden stopped off the bench in Boston before the game to say hello to Odoka, who was an assistant for the Nets last season.
Nets: Host Phoenix on Saturday.
Celtics: Play in San Antonio on Friday night.
More from AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.