The show in Minnesota went on, the day after raw emotion from a fatal police shooting of a local Black man was too strong to play.
Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets made quick work of the Timberwolves, even if focus was harder to come by than usual.
Durant scored 31 points on 11-for-15 shooting in his most productive performance in 2 1/2 months, as the Brooklyn Nets blew out the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-97 on Tuesday afternoon.
“I felt like my wind and legs are getting up under me, each and every minute I’m playing,” stated Durant, who missed 23 matches with a strained hamstring until returning last week.
The game was rescheduled from the previous night, out of sensitivity to the community following the traffic-stop death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
Players from both teams wore black warmup shirts that read, “With liberty and justice for all,” with the last two words in all-caps for extra emphasis, and a moment of silence was held before tip-off.
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“All we can do is be here for each other physically, emotionally try to comprehend what guys are going through,” Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell said, adding: “I encourage everybody to go out there and do what you can physically do to make things better, not just speak about it.”
Anthony Edwards had 27 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves, who played without Karl-Anthony Towns on the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death from COVID-19 complications. Towns decided to sit out and spend the time with his family.
Joe Harris pitched in 23 points for the Nets, who had 31 assists on 46 made baskets.
Missing James Harden (strained hamstring), Kyrie Irving (personal reasons) and LaMarcus Aldridge (non-COVID-19 illness), the Nets were in command from the jump and ahead by 23 points before the midpoint of the second quarter. They built their lead as big as 45 points early in the fourth quarter.
With Harden, Irving and Aldridge all out, Nash put Chris Chiozza and Nicolas Claxton in the starting lineup for the first time, the 17th and 18th different players to appear in the first five for the Nets in just 54 games this season. They have used 32 different combinations.
“I’m really proud of the guys. We’ve had a lot thrown at us this year,” coach Steve Nash said.
Durant played 27 minutes and had his highest points total since Jan. 31. “We’re trying to find that balance, and at least he had a good game and got some minutes on his legs,” Nash said.
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