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Nets torch Heat, lose Durant

NEW YORK (AFP) — The Brooklyn Nets eked out a 102-101 National Basketball Association 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 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 was 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 of 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.

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