The Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday showed just how dangerous they can be with their “Big Three” as they manhandled the Chicago Bulls 138-112 in Chicago in a clash of the top teams in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
The Nets had Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving on the floor for just the second game this season and the superstar trio did not disappoint.
Durant scored 27 points, Harden added 25 points and a season-high 16 assists, while Irving chipped in with nine points in his third game of the season.
Irving made his debut this month after the Nets decided they would let him join the team for road trips even though a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in New York means he cannot play home games in Brooklyn.
While Irving might still be finding his feet, Durant delivered another dominant performance, scoring 17 points in the third quarter.
The Bulls, trailing by two at halftime, pulled level at 71-71 early in the third, but the Nets outscored them 39-19 in the frame to take a 101-79 lead into the fourth.
Harden, back after missing one game with a hyperextended knee, drained five three-pointers.
Patty Mills made six from beyond the arc on the way to 21 points as the Nets — beaten twice already this season by Chicago — edged closer to the Bulls atop the East.
“These last 10 games we’ve been up and down, so we wanted to come out against a really good team who’ve been playing very, very good basketball and execute and play really good on both ends of the ball,” Harden said. “I think we did that.”
The Miami Heat, who went into the day third in the East, just a half-game behind the Nets, kept the pressure on with a 115-91 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
With stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler still sidelined, Tyler Herro led the Heat with 21 points — one of seven Miami players to score in double figures.
Herro added 11 assists and nine rebounds, while the Heat held Hawks star Trae Young to 15 points on four-of-15 shooting.
In the West, the Sacramento Kings put up 40 points in the third quarter on the way to a 125-116 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
All five Kings starters scored in double figures, led by De’Aaron Fox’s 29 points.
Knicks forward R.J. Barrett starred again, scoring 32 points to lead New York to a 108-85 victory over Dallas that halted the Mavericks’ six-game winning streak.
The 21-year-old Barrett posted his second straight 30-point game, after scoring 31 in a rout of San Antonio on Monday.
Mitchell Robinson added a season-high 19 points as all five Knicks starters scored in double figures.
Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The Boston Celtics shrugged off their recent road woes with a 119-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
In other games, the Charlotte Hornets beat the 76ers 109-98, the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame the Utah Jazz 111-91, the Washington Wizards downed the Orlando Magic 112-106 and the Houston Rockets defeated the San Antonio Spurs 128-124.
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