MILWAUKEE (AP)Kyrie Irving scored 23 points, Kevin Durant had 19 points and eight assists and the Brooklyn Nets won their first game of the preseason, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 107-97 Wednesday night.
Nick Claxton had 16 points and nine rebounds for Brooklyn, which snapped a two-game skid. Ben Simmons finished with seven points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led winless Milwaukee with 24 points and 14 rebounds in 32 minutes. Jrue Holiday finished with 20 points and Jevon Carter, starting alongside Holiday at guard, added 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting. The Bucks fell to 0-5 in the preseason.
Nets coach Steve Nash said before the game that he wanted his key players – Irving, Durant and Simmons – to play some extra minutes together as players began ramping up for the start of the regular season next week. Irving played 33 minutes, while Durant played 31. Simmons, who also had a pair of steals, logged 28 minutes.
The game matched Eastern Conference teams entering the season with plenty of optimism. Milwaukee is a year removed from its championship. For Brooklyn, a lot of promise last season was hindered by injuries and Irving’s inability to play at home because of COVID-19 vaccination issues.
HEAT 120, PELICANS 103
Bam Adebayo scored 25 points, Tyler Herro finished with 23 and host Miami handed New Orleans its first loss in four preseason games as Pelicans star Zion Williamson (11 points) played only 11 minutes before leaving the game after rolling his left ankle.
Jimmy Butler had 12 points and six assists in 25 minutes for the Heat. Max Strus finished with 11 points.
Willy Hernangomez, filling in at center for the resting Jonas Valanciunas, scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead New Orleans. Trey Murphy III and Naji Marshall finished with 15 points apiece.
Williamson – who didn’t play at all last season because of problems with his right foot – got hurt on a play where he grabbed a rebound, brought the ball downcourt, split multiple Heat defenders and got to the rim. His left ankle appeared to buckle as he planted, without making contact with any other player. He said after the game he was fine, and was assured that he was only going to experience soreness.
CJ McCollum played 18 minutes and was 1 of 7 from the field, finishing with three points.
CAVALIERS 105, HAWKS 99
Donovan Mitchell had 24 points and eight rebounds and Darius Garland added 23 points, 12 assists and three steals as the backcourt duo led host Cleveland to a victory over Atlanta.
Cedi Osman and Isaac Okoro finished with 16 points each, and Mamadi Diakite had 11 rebounds and 13 points, making 5 of 7 shots. Jarrett Allen had five blocks.
Dejounte Murray led the Hawks with 17 points, and John Collins had 15 points and seven rebounds. Trae Young scored 14 points, but was 3 of 17 from the field, including making one of his six 3-point attempts.
76ers 99, HORNETS 94
Joel Embiid had 19 points and six rebounds and James Harden added 17 points and five assists as Philadelphia beat visiting Charlotte and remained undefeated in four preseason games.
Mortrezl Harrell finished with 14 points and six rebounds.
Gordon Hayward led the Hornets with 16 points, converting 6 of 10 shots, including two of three 3-point attempts. Terry Rozier had 12 points and James Bouknight finished with 11.
The game was a demonstration of the Embiid-Harden offensive key for the Sixers. Philadelphia built its lead with the duo’s scoring. However, it was a struggle shooting, with Philadelphia making 39% for the game.
LaMelo Ball sat out after suffering a left ankle sprain earlier this week. He is expected to be out a week or two, including the start of the regular season.
PACERS 109, KNICKS 100
Rookie Bennedict Mathurin, the sixth pick in last summer’s draft, scored 27 points as Indiana handed visiting New York its first loss in three preseason games.
Andrew Nembhard, the 31st pick in the draft from Gonzaga, had 15 points for the Pacers, while Chris Duarte added 13.
RJ Barrett led the Knicks with 21 points, and Julius Randle added 13.
Isaiah Hartenstein, who signed a two-year deal with the Knicks during the offseason, grabbed 10 rebounds.
Jalen Brunson, the Knicks new hope at point guard, had 11 points on 4-for-14 shooting from 3-point range in 30 minutes.
TIMBERWOLVES 118, LAKERS 113
In Los Angeles, Naz Reid had 22 points and 13 rebounds as Minnesota defeated Los Angeles despite the Timberwolves sitting some of their key players.
LeBron James had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Lakers, and Anthony Davis added 19 points and 13 rebounds. Lonnie Walker IV scored 12 points before leaving with an ankle injury in the third quarter.
Walker, an offseason signee by the Lakers, left the game after teammate Patrick Beverley rolled into him under the Minnesota basket near the midway point of the third quarter. The team announced later that Walker suffered a left ankle sprain and would not return to the game.
D’Angelo Russell and Luka Garza finished with 15 points apiece for the Timberwolves, and Jaden McDaniels scored 11 points.
While the Lakers played with their starters, including James, Davis and Russell Westbrook, Minnesota had most of their key players sitting.
That meant not seeing off-season acquisition Rudy Gobert or Karl-Anthony Towns, along with others including Taurean Prince and P.J. Dozier.
KINGS 105, SUNS 104
De’Aaron Fox scored 15 points, Kevin Huerter added 13 points as Sacramento held on to defeat shorthanded Phoenix.
Harrison Barnes and Terence Davis had 12 points apiece for the Kings.
Duane Johnson Jr. led the Suns with 31 points and Jock Landale recorded 17 points and eight rebounds. Bismack Biyombo had 12 points for Phoenix.
The Suns turned the game over to the reserves as many of the Phoenix rotation players took the night off, including Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges.
NUGGETS 126, CLIPPERS 115
Denver used a balanced scoring attack with eight players reaching double figures as it defeated Los Angeles in Ontario, California.
Ish Smith led the winners with 15 points, converting 7 of 11 shots, and adding eight assists to his night. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 14, and Zeke Nnaji scored 13.
Normal Powell led the Clippers with 34 points on 11 of 14 shooting. Marcus Morris Sr. had 13 points.
Paul George played 16 minutes, scoring two points, but he had six rebounds and four assists.
Kawhi Leonard took the night off.
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