Irving, Durant lead Nets to thumping win over Celtics in Boston

Kyrie Irving scored 37 points with eight assists in his return to Boston and Kevin Durant added 29 for Brooklyn on Friday to lead the Nets to a 123-95 victory over the Celtics.

Jarrett Allen added 11 rebounds for the Nets, who remained perfect so far this season and sent Boston to its first loss. Irving was 7-of-10 from three-point range in his first regular-season game at TD Garden since he opted out of his Celtics contract in 2019.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Credit:Getty Images

“We’re going to continue to see them. We’re in the same division,” Irving said, adding that there was “nothing added” to his motivation in playing his former team.

Jaylen Brown scored 27 with eight rebounds for the Celtics and Jayson Tatum had 20 points and eight boards. The Celtics beat Milwaukee in their opener on Wednesday on Tatum's last-second shot over Giannis Antetokounmpo, but they couldn't do it again in their second straight match-up against a team expected to contend in the Eastern Conference this season.

“The benefit of playing these two games against two other great teams is that it forces you to be better," Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. "It tests you to see where you’re at, it sets the bar, and now you know what you have to strive for.”

The game began after a moment of silence for former Celtics player and coach KC Jones, who died earlier Friday.

Durant scored 16 points in the third quarter, when the Nets outscored Boston 35-23 to turn a three-point deficit into an 86-77 lead. He scored nine straight Brooklyn points at the beginning of the third when the Nets took the lead for good.

In Denver, Kawhi Leonard had 21 points before taking an elbow to the face in the fourth quarter as his Los Angeles Clippers beat the Nuggets 121-108.

LeBron JamesCredit:AP

In Miami, Duncan Robinson made seven three-pointers and scored 23 points, helping the Heat beat the New Orleans Pelicans 111-98.

Goran Dragic scored 18 points, Bam Adebayo had 17 and Avery Bradley finished with 12 for Miami which lost Jimmy Butler at half-time with right ankle stiffness.

Zion Williamson had 32 points and 14 rebounds in 38 minutes for New Orleans — the rebounds and minutes both being career highs. Brandon Ingram finished with 28 points.

Meanwhile, Khris Middleton scored 31 points and the Milwaukee Bucks routed the Golden State Warriors 138-99.

Middleton went 10-of-15 overall and 6-for-8 from three-point range, leading a strong performance from deep for his team. He has totaled 58 points in his first two games of the season.

The Warriors have been outscored by 65 points in their first two games, the second-highest total in NBA history through two games behind the 1987-88 Clippers (71), after losing 125-99 at Brooklyn in their season opener.

Stephen Curry scored 19 points for Golden State and rookie James Wiseman had 18.

AP

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