Kevin Durant scored 32 points in three quarters to lead the Brooklyn Nets to an emphatic 125-86 win and a 2-0 series lead against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.
Despite again missing James Harden – who left in the first minute of Game One with a hamstring strain – the Nets embarrassed the Bucks and their dual MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo with a searing performance that leaves them halfway from a place in the semi-finals.
The home side stormed into a 36-19 lead at the first break, led 65-41 at half time, and maintained their pressure in the second half to record the biggest play-off victory in the team’s history.
Kyrie Irving contributed 22 points for Brooklyn while Bruce Brown – filling in for Harden – and Joe Harris scored 13 points each.
Antetokounmpo was Milwaukee’s top scorer with just 18 points, complemented by 11 rebounds, while Khris Middleton finished with 17 points.
Game Three is on Thursday in Milwaukee.
There was another convincing win in Game One of the Western Conference second-round series between the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets, with the Suns running out 122-105 victors.
The Nuggets led 58-57 after a tight first half before being overwhelmed by the home side, who took the third quarter 31-21 and the fourth 34-26 – their second half including a 34-9 run.
Chris Paul contributed 21 points and 11 assists for the Suns, Mikal Bridges top-scored with 23 points while Devin Booker (21 points) and Deandre Ayton (20 points and 10 rebounds) also played big parts in the win.
Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 22 points and nine rebounds, with Aaron Gordon scoring 18 points and Michael Porter 15.
Game Two is on Wednesday in Phoenix.
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