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The Rundown: KD’s Nets get past Pacers, KPJ goes for 50

April 30, 2021, 1:20 PM ● Miguel Flores

Kevin Durant led the attack in the Nets’ win over the Pacers, while Kevin Porter Jr. dropped a 50-point double-double for the Rockets.

Scoreboard

Timberwolves 126, Warriors 114
Mavericks 115, Pistons 105
Nets 130, Pacers 113
Rockets 143, Bucks 136
Pelicans 109, Thunder 95
Nuggets 121, Raptors 111

What went down

In a relatively sparse six-game night in the compressed NBA season, there were still plenty of games that affected the playoff picture.

The still incomplete Brooklyn Nets only had Kevin Durant from their Big Three, but still handled the slipping Indiana Pacers on the road. Durant, just in his third game back after missing a week due to a thigh contusion, hung 42 points on the Pacers on a smooth 16-for-24 shooting clip.

Despite barely having a healthy lineup all season, the Nets (43-20) have soared to the top of the East standings with a 1.5 game lead on the Philadelphia 76ers (41-21). The Pacers (29-33), on the other hand, sit precariously in ninth in the East, just three games up on the 11th place Chicago Bulls. The East's play-in picture is still up in the air with the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, and Washington Wizards possibly finishing within the play-in picture.

Out West, the Dallas Mavericks, without Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, handled the Detroit Pistons behind a huge boost from Tim Hardaway Jr. who scored a career-high 42 points. The Mavs (35-27) continue to build an important cushion between them and the seventh place Portland Trail Blazers (34-28), while still keeping their hopes alive of leap-frogging the fifth-placed Los Angeles Lakers (36-26).

The Golden State Warriors, even with Steph Curry dropping 36 points, lost to a resurgent Minnesota Timberwolves, buoyed by their 2020 first overall pick Anthony Edwards. At 31-32, the Warriors are right on the edge of the West postseason picture, sitting in 10th place with the New Orleans Pelicans (28-35), maintaining an outside chance of crashing their play-in hopes.

Big-time baller

Just days after getting fined $50,000 for breaking health and safety protocols, Kevin Porter Jr. dropped 50 on the court.


This is not to condone any irresponsible behavior that could potentially put a lot of lives at risk, but the pettiness of Porter Jr.’s performance colors in some unique parts in the NBA that other sports leagues simply don't have space for. This stands up there with Russell Westbrook dropping a 20-15-20 triple-double when he mistakenly thought he was drafted last in the All-Star game and every time Michael Jordan took even a hint of slander and used it as fuel to eviscerate his opponents.

KPJ became the youngest player to drop 50 points and 10+ assists, breaking LeBron James' record. His off-court troubles withstanding, KPJ might have been worth more than a second-round pick.

What he said

Always nice to see players showing love for each other. Jamal Crawford, one of the MVPs of respecting the game and gassing up the next generation, welcomed KPJ to a club he's been in for a long time.


Did you see that?

Karl Anthony Towns – more than most NBA players – deserves any and every thing good that comes to him after what he went through this past year. Seeing him dunk like this – on former Timberwolf Andrew Wiggins, no less – is something worth celebrating after he was so far removed from basketball not too long ago.


And if you haven’t been watching a lot of Nets games for a lack of star power, Jeff Green – yes, that Jeff Green – has been dunking on people in his age 34 season.