Joe Harris scored 20 points as the Brooklyn Nets survived a rough shooting night by Kyrie Irving and withstood a late charge by the visiting Boston Celtics for a 109-104 victory Friday night in New York.
The Nets (40-20) moved a half-game ahead of the idle Philadelphia 76ers into the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia visits the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday afternoon.
Brooklyn led for the final 33:56 and survived despite getting outscored 27-15 in the final 10-plus minutes. The Nets controlled the pace with a whopping 32-3 margin on fastbreak points overall as they finished 3-0 against Boston in the regular-season series.
Jeff Green added 19 for the Nets, who shot 43 percent and withstood Irving missing 15 of 19 shots. Despite his rough shooting night, Irving nearly posted a triple-double (15 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds).
Bruce Brown chipped in 15 points, Blake Griffin contributed 13 and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 11 rebounds for Brooklyn.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 38 points after shooting 3 of 17 from the field in each of his previous two games. Rookie Payton Pritchard hit six 3-pointers en route to 22 points while Marcus Smart finished with 19. The Celtics shot 40.4 percent overall and hit 17 of 42 from long range.
The Nets escaped while playing without Kevin Durant (left thigh contusion), who sat out his third straight game. He was listed as questionable but ruled out a few hours before the opening tip. Durant could play Sunday against the visiting Phoenix Suns.
Boston (32-28) lost for only the third time in its past 12 games and dropped one game behind the fifth-place Atlanta Hawks. The Celtics were without Jaylen Brown (sore left shoulder) and also held out Kemba Walker on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Nets held a 94-77 lead on a hook shot by Mike James with 10:09 remaining, but Boston stormed back, getting within 98-95 on Tatum’s 3-pointer with 3:32 left. A three-point play by Tatum made it 103-98 with 2:01 left
Two free throws by Landry Shamet made it 105-99 left with 26 seconds left, and Tatum converted a put-back but missed the free throw with 6.4 seconds left after the Celtics grabbed three offensive rebounds.
After two free throws by Griffin made it a six-point game with five seconds left, Pritchard hit another 3-pointer with 3.1 ticks left to make it 107-104, but Irving finally secured the win at the line in the final seconds.
–Field Level Media
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