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Nets stay hot sans Irving

NEW YORK (AFP) — Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets clamped down defensively in a 110-95 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the National Basketball Association on Saturday, their fourth win in the five games since Kyrie Irving was suspended.

As the Nets’ resurgence continued despite turmoil, the Boston Celtics notched a sixth straight victory and the Dallas Mavericks downed the high-flying Portland Trail Blazers thanks to a 42-point triple-double from Luka Doncic.

Irving was suspended for at least five games by the Nets after using social media to publicize a film widely condemned as anti-Semitic.

Although he has now sat out five games, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said before Saturday’s contest that Irving would not return for Sunday’s clash with the Lakers.

“We’re obviously missing (Irving) and we’ve got to look where those points are going to come from,” Durant said after the Nets opened their southern California sojourn with a hard-fought victory.

“I think guys are doing that as a group.”

Durant excelled on both ends of the floor, scoring 27 points with six rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and two steals.

Reserve Seth Curry scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Nets finally put the back-and-forth battle away.

Durant, 34, is the first player to start a season with 13 straight games scoring at least 25 points since Michael Jordan had 16 25-point games to open the 1988-89 campaign.

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