NEW YORK (AP) — First Kyrie Irving, then Kevin Durant. Once both superstars had missed, a Brooklyn Nets team that believes it’s good enough to win a title wasn’t even good enough for a winning record.
Bradley Beal had 27 points, 10 rebounds and the assist on Thomas Bryant’s go-ahead dunk with 14.9 seconds left, leading the Washington Wizards to a 123-122 victory over the Nets yesterday.
Irving and Durant missed jumpers in the final six seconds, dropping the Nets to 3-4 in their first season with the duo playing together.
“It’s just taking time and it’s not going to be put together overnight, nor am I expecting it to, nor am I going to get frustrated over six games or however many games we’ve played,” Irving said. “The object of this regular season was to continue to get better and prepare for the 16 wins in the playoffs.”
Russell Westbrook had 24 points and 10 assists but only five rebounds after recording triple-doubles in his first four games with the Wizards. Bryant finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds as Washington won its second straight after an 0-5 start.
“We defended without fouling late down the stretch,” Beal said. “We know how hard of a job that is. We’ve got two of the best players ever to touch a basketball on the other side, so it’s a tough task, man, but I think we did an excellent job of accepting that challenge.”
Irving had 30 points and 10 assists for the Nets, while Durant had 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. But Durant also had six of the Nets’ 20 turnovers that led to 23 Washington points.
“I can live with two or three, but six of them is too much for me,” Durant said.
The lead changed hands frequently down the stretch before Beal missed a jumper with the Wizards down by one. Bryant grabbed the rebound and the ball got back to Beal, who drove into the lane and dished it to his big man.
Irving then missed a three-pointer but the Nets grabbed the rebound and got it to Durant, whose jumper with 1.5 seconds left was off.
The Nets were on pace for another one at halftime. Down 12 early in the second quarter after being outscored 11-0 to start the period, they finished with a flurry to lead 71-70.