'Bigger than a regular season game' - Durant hails win over Bucks as Nets extend win streak

By Sports Desk December 23, 2022

Kevin Durant says the Brooklyn Nets treated Friday's 118-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks as "bigger than a regular season" after extending their win streak to eight games.

The Nets claimed a confidence-boosting victory over the 2021 NBA champions, moving Brooklyn to a  21-12 record, while the Bucks are only slightly ahead in the Eastern Conference with a 22-10 record.

Durant scored 24 points, extending his run of games with plus 50 per cent field-goal shooting to 12, while Nic Claxton added 19 points with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

There were contributions all round for Brooklyn, with Kyrie Irving scoring 18 points with nine rebounds and six assists, while Ben Simmons had 12 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and three steals. T.J. Warren chipped in 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.

All five Nets' starters reached double figures, marking the sixth time they have achieved that this season.

After a tumultuous start to the season where they commenced with a 1-5 record and had off-court issues involving Irving to deal with, the Nets have rallied to become genuine contenders.

"It's good for us," Durant told reporters. It's good for us to keep stacking days. We respect Milwaukee, we understand how dominant they've been this season.

"We wanted to come out and we understand everyone is watching this game, everybody looked at this as bigger than a regular season game, so I think we tried to approach it that way.

"I know those guys play extremely hard every night, we tried to match that. They play playoff style basketball every game so it was on us to match it and play our brand as well.

"We've been trying to stay at their level as consistently as we can. It's tough to do in the regular season with injuries and the ebb and flow of the season but we tried to stay locked in as much as we can."

Durant called the victory a "great team win" for the Nets given the raft of contributions, creating 30 assists compared to the Bucks' 17, and forcing 18 turnovers.

"We were locked in all night on both sides of the ball," Durant said. "We were able to get a nice cushion early.

"They're a championship quality team so they're going to fight back and get into the game. We were able to make big shots and get big stops. Great team win for us."

The Nets kept Giannis Antetokounmpo scoreless in the final quarter, led by Simmons, as they weathered any late challenge, pulling away to win by 18 points after leading 85-75 at the final change.

"I thought overall the mental approach from guys, we knew they'd make some threes and we didn’t panic," Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said.

"Giannis is going to get through us sometimes and we're not going to over-react. But we be steady throughout the night to put multiple bodies in front of him? That's tough to do, because he's coming downhill at you with force and you're going to get hit. I thought overall our guys responded extremely well."

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