After being sidelined for 23 games and nearly two months, Kevin Durant returned to the Brooklyn Nets’ fold on Wednesday night. He responded with absolute aplomb as well, shooting a perfect 5-5 (and 5-5 from the charity stripe, too) from the floor and putting up 17 points in 19 minutes of action. His albeit brief outing helped spark the Nets’ highest-scoring half of the season, as they dropped 79 in the first half alone. That gave them a 20-point edge going into the half-time break, and it allowed them to largely coast home in the second half as they waltzed toward a 139-111 victory.
Kyrie Irving led them in scoring with 24 points in 30 minutes of action while in recent acquisition LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 in 23 minutes. With the win, the Nets moved to 36-16 thus far, putting them half a game up on Philly for the top spot in the Eastern Conference currently. The Pelicans, meanwhile, got 26 from Eric Bledsoe on the evening but fell to 22-29 with the defeat. That means they are 11th as things stand, two games off the pace of the Warriors as they fight to at least make it to the ten seed and have a play-in for the playoffs. It doesn’t look good for them, but there is still a chance for them nonetheless if they can begin to build some momentum.