Kevin Durant scored a game-high 34 points while Boomer Patty Mills made another vital contribution as the Brooklyn Nets posted a 114-105 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Durant made a four-point play with the game tied and 1:46 remaining on Thursday, as the Nets registered another short-handed victory.
The Nets were missing seven players because of coronavirus health and safety protocols, but tellingly had Durant – the NBA’s leading scorer – who added 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Blake Griffin and Nic Claxton both added a season-high 17 points for the Nets, who had just nine players available.
Mills scored 14 points to go with five rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes on court – only Durant enjoyed more minutes for Brooklyn – in the Eastern Conference-leading Nets’ fourth-straight victory.
Joel Embiid had 32 points, nine rebounds and six assists in the 76ers’ third straight loss. Seth Curry scored 29 points.
It was Brooklyn’s second straight game without starters James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre’ Bembry, along with reserves Bruce Brown, Paul Millsap, Jevon Carter and James Johnson.
The Nets built a 20-point lead but the 76ers, playing for the second straight night, tied it at 103 on Embiid’s basket with 1:55 to play. Durant answered with a three-pointer while being fouled by Tobias Harris, who had a nightmarish game on both ends.
Griffin followed with a three-pointer to make it 110-103 and rookie David Duke Jr. added two free throws to put it away.
The Nets shot at 65 per cent and led 39-25 after one and pushed it to 54-35 when Griffin, who had fallen out of the rotation entirely but is now starting, converted a three-point play.
The Sixers trailed 66-46 late in the half but outscored Brooklyn 31-19 in the third, with Embiid and Curry combining for 25, to cut it to 85-79.
In Indianapolis, the Pacers beat the Detroit Pistons 122-113 with Caris LeVert scored 20 of his 31 points in the first half to hand the visitors their 13th straight loss.
LeVert was 12 of 18 from the field. Justin Holiday added 17 points for Indiana, shooting five of 15.