Nets vs. Rockets Recap: Kyrie’s 40-Piece Too Much for Houston to Handle
After a demoralizing loss at the hands of the Hawks, the Nets got back into the win column with a 118-103 win over a young and inexperienced Rockets team. Despite the 13-point margin of victory, it was anything but a cakewalk for the Nets, who once again struggled to firmly put away an inferior opponent.
Kyrie Irving led the way for Brooklyn all night, particularly in closing the win. The superstar point guard scored 17 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter and served as a calming presence for a Brooklyn team that seemed to be in a freefall to start the final frame.
After the Nets’ lead had dwindled to six, Irving scored eight straight points to push the lead back to 14. Throughout the quarter, Irving dazzled with his slick dribbling ability and fancy finishes at the rim, converting on a few and-1 opportunities. Uncle Drew also hit a dagger three, one of eight on the night, with just under two minutes remaining in the game to put the Nets up 15.
After a string of sub-par performances in his first few games at Barclays and a stinker against Atlanta, Irving appeared to be much more settled in this one en route to a dominating game.
As loud of a game as Irving had, that’s how quiet a game his teammate Kevin Durant had. This is not the first time this year Durant (18 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) has taken a backseat when Irving has it going offensively. In fact, the Nets scored 25 points before Durant scored his first at the 3:24 mark of the first quarter. However, the Nets did not necessarily need Durant to go “God Mode” in this one as he impacted the game through his facilitating and on the defensive side, where he also collected a pair of blocks.
Every time it seemed as if Brooklyn was ready to run away with the game, the Rockets made a push. After going up by as many as 21 points in the second half, Houston went on an extended 14-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters. Standout rookie Jalen Green (30 points, six rebounds) and Kevin Porter Jr (36 points) led the charge for the Rockets, who fought to the very end but were ultimately outmatched.
Aside from the stars, the Nets received much-needed contributions from their role players, especially from Bruce Brown and his continued strong play. After missing the previous game due to illness, Brown did his usual “hand in everything” shtick and even knocked down a trio of deep balls. The three-point shooting is something that has really come on for Brown as of late, converting on almost 50% of his triples over the past month. Rookies Kessler Edwards and Cam Thomas also provided the Nets with some quality minutes and a bit of a scoring punch off the bench.
Tuesday night, along with the remainder of the Nets’ schedule, was a must-win game. It is not ideal that Durant had to return to the game in the fourth quarter, especially on the front end of a back-to-back, but a win is a win nonetheless. The team will look to keep the winning ways going as they visit their crosstown rival New York Knicks on Wednesday night.