Kyrie Irving scored 21 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter as the short-handed Brooklyn Nets continue its recent dominance of the visiting New York Knicks in a 122-115 victory on Saturday night in New York.
Irving helped Brooklyn improve to 3-6 since losing star Kevin Durant to a sprained right knee, and his big fourth quarter allowed the Nets to fend off a comeback try and win their ninth straight over the Knicks.
Irving made eight of 15 shots in the fourth and scored nine of Brooklyn’s last 11 points by hitting two 3-pointers, a layup and a free throw in the final 79 seconds after the lead was sliced to four points.
Playing without Ben Simmons (sore left knee) and T.J. Warren (left shin contusion), the Nets placed all five starters in double figures. All 10 players who appeared scored.
Joe Harris added 16 points and Royce O’Neale contributed 14 as the Nets shot 52.9 percent and hit 22 treys. Nic Claxton collected 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Seth Curry chipped in 14 points as Brooklyn took the lead in the opening minutes and led by as many as 19 in the third.
Jalen Brunson scored 26 points and RJ Barrett added 24 for the Knicks, who were coming off consecutive wins over Cleveland and Boston. Julius Randle was held to 19 as the Knicks shot 51.1 percent.
The Nets held a 28-22 advantage after the opening quarter and took a 54-36 lead on Yuta Watanabe’s third 3-pointer of the second with 5:20 remaining. The Knicks chipped away and were within 62-49 by halftime and outscored the Nets 24-11 over the final 7 1/2 minutes of the third to get within 88-81 entering the fourth.
After Isaiah Hartenstein’s hoop moved the Knicks within 98-90 with about 8 1/2 minutes left, Curry and Irving hit treys to push the lead to 104-90 with 7:25 left.
The Nets held a 106-96 lead when Irving stole the ball from Brunson and coasted in for a layup with 5:33 left. However, Randle’s 14-footer made it 106-100 a minute later, and a putback by Quentin Grimes made it 108-105 with 3:07 left.
Brooklyn finished it off when Irving hit two 3-pointers in the final 79 seconds to open a 117-109 lead.