The Brooklyn Nets finally got their new Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving all on the court together on Wednesday night in Cleveland, as they took on a shorthanded but feisty Cavs team that was getting Collin Sexton back as well.
After starting 10-for-10 from the field, it certainly looked like it would be the Nets’ night, but from there, the Cavs defense came alive and what has been the NBA’s worst offense suddenly looked unstoppable behind the lead of Sexton. Cleveland led by nine going into the fourth quarter and at points looked like they might runaway with a win, but Brooklyn closed the gap on the backs of a sensational performance from Kevin Durant, who finished the night with 38 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Four-point play for KD 💪 pic.twitter.com/GIEe7CfrYc
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 21, 2021
Irving in his first game in two weeks found his scoring touch as well, scoring 37, while Harden had his worst outing as a Net with just a 21-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound triple-double. None of that mattered, though, as Brooklyn simply couldn’t stop the Cavs and Sexton, who erupted with a career-high 42 points. More than half of those points came in the overtime periods, as the Young Bull went crazy, starting with the game-tying three over Irving with just under two seconds to play.
— FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOXSportsCLE) January 21, 2021
In double overtime, it continued to be the Sexton show as he scored 20 points in a row at one point for the Cavs across the end of the first OT and the start of the second to help Cleveland runaway with a 147-135 win and stun the Nets in what they hoped would be a celebration of their Big 3’s first outing together. Sexton put threes in the eyes of whoever dared to guard him, whether it by Irving, Durant, or Jeff Green.
Collin Sexton drops a career-high 42 PTS and closes out the Nets in 2OT 🔥
YOUNG BULL COULD NOT BE STOPPED pic.twitter.com/MeBttn6uDa
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 21, 2021
He finished the game with 42/5/5 and got lots of help from his supporting cast. Cedi Osman had a terrific shooting night, scoring 25 points, Larry Nance Jr. continues to be the Cavs all-everything player on both ends with 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, and new additions from Brooklyn, Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen had big contributions as well — with the Cavs riding with Allen over Andre Drummond to close out the game.
It was a sensational, star-making performance for Sexton, who has emerged over the last two years as a truly excellent offensive player and this year the intensity he’s always shown on defense is yielding positive results. The Cavs continue to be one of the NBA’s best stories of the season, and for the Nets their performance showed the clear areas of work that lie ahead, namely on defense but also in gaining continuity on offense as they piled up the turnovers early.