The Brooklyn Nets eked out a 102-101 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday on Royce O’Neale’s game-winner but saw superstar Kevin Durant limp out with a knee injury in the third quarter.
Durant, averaging 30 points per game for the surging Nets, was hurt with little more than a minute remaining in the third when Australian teammate Ben Simmons rose to block a shot by Jimmy Butler, who fell back into Durant.
Durant sat on the floor for several moments, tried to rejoin the contest and then departed for the locker room.
“He’ll get evaluated tomorrow and then hopefully I’ll have more info,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “Most likely it will include imaging, just to make sure we’re good.”
Immediately after the game Vaughn said he hadn’t yet discussed the injury with Durant, who was congratulating teammates as they came off the court.
Kyrie Irving led the Nets with 20 points. Durant finished with 17 in 30 minutes on the court and O’Neale came through after the Heat led by nine with 9:24 to play.
Miami were up 101-100 after a pair of baskets from Butler but when Irving missed a three-pointer with 5.5 seconds left O’Neale got the rebound and delivered what proved to be the game-winner.
Butler led Miami with 26 points but missed a layup at the buzzer.
Despite the concerns over Durant, Vaughn was happy with what he saw from the Nets, who improved to 27-13, one game behind the Boston Celtics atop the East.
“You’ve got to give our guys credit for staying with it,” he said. “I think we were down eight or nine — to finish the game and stay together, pretty impressive.”
Durant’s former Nets teammate James Harden delivered a 20-point triple-double to help carry the short-handed Philadelphia 76ers to a convincing 123-111 victory over the Pistons in Detroit.
Harden added 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his second triple-double of the season and had plenty off support despite the continued absence of star center Joel Embiid and P.J. Tucker.
Embiid missed his third straight game with a sore left foot while Tucker was out with a sinus infection.
“He was terrific,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said of Harden but noted it was a “good team performance.”
Montrezl Harrell scored a season-high 20 points and combined seamlessly with Harden to keep the Sixers offense clicking.
Tyrese Maxey scored 23 points, and the 76ers reserves scored 48 points as Philadelphia pushed their lead to 23 points midway through the fourth quarter.
Harden reached a career milestone during the game, becoming the 27th NBA player to score 24,000 career points.
Grizzlies silence Jazz
There were varying fortunes for the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks as they played without their stars.
In Memphis, Desmond Bane scored 24 points and handed out nine assists as the Grizzlies, missing their top scorer Ja Morant, beat the Utah Jazz 123-118.
Morant was a late scratch with a sore right thigh. In his absence, the offense flowed through Tyus Jones who scored 21 points with six assists as the Grizzlies grabbed a sixth straight win.
Memphis, who were also without ailing center Steven Adams, improved to 26-13, tied with Western Conference leader Denver.
Meanwhile the Mavericks, with Luka Doncic sidelined by a sore ankle a day after his triple-double in a win over New Orleans, fell 120-109 to the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points for the Thunder, who weathered a hot start by the Mavs and never trailed in the second half.
In Houston, the Minnesota Timberwolves trailed by as many as 20 in the first half and were down by four going into the fourth quarter, but they rallied to beat the lowly Rockets 104-96.
D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points and Anthony Edwards added 21. Center Rudy Gobert scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, upping the intensity in the second half as the Timberwolves battled back.