Durant, Harden spark Nets fightback over Mavs

Los Angeles (AFP) – James Harden and Kevin Durant led a late fightback as the Brooklyn Nets overturned a 17-point, third-quarter deficit to edge past the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.


Harden and Durant combined for 47 points in a 102-99 road victory for Brooklyn, who lead the Eastern Conference with 17 wins against seven losses.

Brooklyn's victory was sealed by a devastating burst of scoring in the fourth quarter, with the Nets overwhelming Dallas 27-13.

Brooklyn took the lead for the first time in the game with a Harden free throw to make it 91-90 with 6 min 41 remaining.

Dallas star Luka Doncic twice regained the lead for the Mavericks, but a 25-foot three-pointer from Patty Mills edged Brooklyn back in front at 98-97 with just under three minutes on the clock.

A Harden layup put Brooklyn 100-97 ahead and Durant's fadeaway completed the Nets' scoring.

The win at Dallas's American Airlines Center was vindication for Brooklyn coach Steve Nash, who left Harden and Durant on the court for over 41 minutes and 40 minutes respectively.

"I like to be on the court," Durant said afterwards.

"A game like tonight we were struggling a little bit and we needed a bit of juice going into the fourth quarter.

"Coach kept me and James on the court to give us an extra push and it worked."

Nash said Tuesday's victory augured well for the rest of the season.

"I'm proud of the way we've been able to find solutions and win games," Nash said. "We're knocking on the door of elevating our play into a little bit higher category."

Dallas were left ruing their inability to strike from distance.

Doncic led the Mavs scorers with 28 points, but Dallas paid the price for making just nine of 46 attempts from three-point range.

The defeat dropped the Mavs below .500 at 11-12, seventh in the Western Conference.

'Good moments' for Lakers

In Los Angeles, the Lakers scored a comfortable win over the Boston Celtics at the Staples Center.

LeBron James finished with 30 points in the Los Angeles Lakers win over the Boston Celtics
LeBron James finished with 30 points in the Los Angeles Lakers win over the Boston Celtics Harry How GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

LeBron James finished with 30 points while Russell Westbrook added 24 in a 117-102 win for the Lakers, who improved to 13-12 with the win.

James, who returned to playing duty last week after entering the league's Covid-19 protocols following a series of conflicting test results, has now posted 30 points or more in four of his last five appearances.

"We had a lot of good moments tonight and we want to continue to build off that. There's a lot we can clean up but tonight was one of the best 48 minute games that we've had so far," said James, relieved to be playing again after a season disrupted by injury, suspension and last week's Covid-19 intrigue.

"Unfortunately I haven't been out on the floor as much as I would like this season, but I felt really good tonight," James said.

"My teammates picked me up and I tried to pick them up. Hopefully we can keep it going for the foreseeable future."

Anthony Davis had 17 points and 16 rebounds for the Lakers while Talen Horton-Tucker chipped in with 12 points.

Boston's scoring was led by Jayson Tatum, who finished with 34 points after draining 13 of 22 from the field, including five three-pointers.

Elsewhere Tuesday, the New York Knicks halted their three-game losing streak with a 121-109 win on the road over the San Antonio Spurs.

R.J. Barrett led the New York team, scoring with 32 points as six Knicks players finished in double digits.

The Knicks improved to 12-12 with the win to remain just outside the Eastern Conference playoff places in 11th.