Nets rally from 21 down to beat Nuggets
Matthew Stockman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

DENVER (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 33 points, including five free throws over the last 21 seconds, and Kyrie Irving added 31 as the Brooklyn Nets snapped a four-game skid by storming back to beat the short-handed Denver Nuggets 125-119 on Saturday night.

The Nets moved a half-game in front of Milwaukee for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn remained three games behind East-leading Philadelphia.

After trailing by as many as 21 points in the first half, the Nets took the lead for good at 111-110 on a 3-pointer by Joe Harris with 6:12 remaining. It was their first lead since 35 seconds into the game.

But it was far from easy down the stretch. Nikola Jokic had a chance to give the Nuggets the lead with 23.9 seconds left, only to see his turnaround miss. Durant made two free throws to make it 122-119.

Durant was fouled soon after Jokic missed a shot on the other end. The Nuggets big man was upset over the no-call and lost his cool, picking up a technical with 9.1 seconds left. Durant made three free throws to secure the win.

Blake Griffin had 16 of his 20 points in a pivotal third quarter to help the Nets climb back into the game.

Jokic had 29 points and Michael Porter Jr. added 28 points, including six 3-pointers, as the Nuggets had their seven-game home winning streak snapped. It was their final regular-season game this season at Ball Arena, where the Nuggets finished 25-11.

Facundo Campazzo had 19 points and little-used Markus Howard chipped in a career-best 13 points as the Nuggets went with unconventional lineups after playing the night before at Utah.

Aaron Gordon was a late scratch with tightness in his right calf, joining a growing list of banged-up Nuggets. The injury report now includes Jamal Murray (ACL), Zeke Nnaji (sprained left ankle), Monte Morris (hamstring), Will Barton (hamstring) and PJ Dozier (right adductor strain). Paul Millsap also didn't play as he wore a back brace on the bench.

In the second quarter, Nuggets coach Michael Malone turned to the little-used lineup of Vlatko Cancar, Bol Bol, Howard, Shaquille Harrison and JaVale McGee.

TIP-INS

Nets: G James Harden was out for a 17th straight game with a right hamstring strain. ... Durant had 11 boards. ... The Nuggets had a 27-1 edge in second-chance points.

Nuggets: Porter scored Denver's opening 11 points. ... This was the largest blown lead in a loss this season for Denver. The previous biggest was 20 at Washington on Feb. 17.

NASH ON JOKIC

Brooklyn coach Steve Nash spoke of Jokic in high regard.

“Clearly, I think Jokic is the MVP this year,” Nash said. “He’s kind of gone wire-to-wire at this high level, and makes his teammates better, makes everything go. They lose Jamal Murray and they haven’t really skipped a beat. That shows how good he is.”

SAME GAME

Malone sees similarities between Durant and Porter.

“Very similar body types, tremendous size, length,” Malone said. “Obviously, Kevin Durant’s body of work is just tremendous; he’s one of the top five players in the world.”

UP NEXT

Nets: Finish a five-game trip Tuesday at Chicago.

Nuggets: At Charlotte on Tuesday as Denver concludes the season with four straight road games.

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Nets rally from 21 down to beat Nuggets
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