Durant's season-high 45 points leads Nets to victory, Raptors win in Siakam's return

By Sports Desk November 28, 2022

Kevin Durant produced his best scoring performance of the season to carry the Brooklyn Nets to a 109-102 victory against the Orlando Magic on Monday.

In a remarkably efficient outing, Durant hit 19-of-24 from the field, three-of-five from deep and all four of his free throws for 45 points in 39 minutes. He added seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks.

One of the greatest offensive players in league history, Durant has rediscovered his ability to protect the rim defensively this season, with his 1.8 blocks per game placing him eighth in the league while tying his career-high.

Durant was supported well by Kyrie Irving with 20 points on nine-of-17 shooting, but they had to see out the second half without Ben Simmons after the Australian left the game in the second quarter due to left knee soreness.

Starting center Nic Claxton picked up the slack with 17 points (seven-of-10 shooting), 13 rebounds and three blocks, while Joe Harris chipped in 17 points off the bench.

For Orlando, heavy favourite for Rookie of the Year and top overall pick from this year's draft Paolo Banchero continued to display his All-NBA upside, scoring an equal team-high 24 points on nine-of-17 shooting with five assists, four rebounds and two steals.

With the result, the Nets have now won five of their past seven games, and have pulled their record even at 11-11.

Siakam's return ignites Raptors

Pascal Siakam returned to the Toronto Raptors starting line-up and looked right at home with 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a 100-88 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Siakam had missed the past 10 games due to a strained adductor, but mustered 30 minutes in his first game back.

O.G. Anunoby top scored for the Raptors with 20 points on eight-of-13 shooting, while in an interesting coaching decision, Nick Nurse opted to start Juancho Hernangomez and bring reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes off the bench.

After starting the season with Siakam as the biggest player in the Raptors' starting line-up, Nurse pivoted to a larger group in his return, with Gary Trent Jr also relegated to the bench in favour of Thaddeus Young.

'Point Zion' orchestrates Pelicans win

With C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram both missing through injuries, Zion Williamson assumed the role of lead initiator in the New Orleans Pelicans' 105-101 triumph against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Williamson, who largely operated as the lead ball-handler during the second half of his breakout 2020-21 campaign, dished a season-high eight assists to go with his 23 points (11-of-18 shooting) and eight rebounds.

He did it on both ends, as his three blocks nearly matched his total for the season, having only tallied a combined four from his first 14 games

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    And the Pacers responded with a fine display in a 116-103 victory, which sees the series go down to the wire, with Game 7 set for Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

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    "We moved the ball better and we got more rebounds, and that's obviously a big key to the series.

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    "He [Carlisle] just really challenged our group [players] 1-15 on how can we be better."

    Jalen Brunson finished with 31 points for the Knicks, but he was not overly impressed by his own performance. 

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    Andrew Nembhard, Tyrese Haliburton and T.J. McConnell each added 15 points, with Nembhard grabbing six rebounds and handing out six assists. Haliburton had nine assists as the Pacers remained perfect in six home games in this postseason.

    The winner of Game 7 in New York on Sunday will advance to face the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.

    Jalen Bruson scored 31 points on 11-of-26 shooting after missing his final 11 shots in the first half. Deuce McBride added 20 points with four 3-pointers as the Knicks fell to 0-3 on the road in this series.

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  • Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak

    Laurent Courtois has accepted that it is on him to find a winning formula as CF Montreal look to snap their winless run against Toronto FC.

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Toronto - Federico Bernardeschi

    Bernardeschi missed the loss to Nashville but will hope to start this weekend in a fixture he has fond memories of. 

    The Italian has scored in each of his two home games against Montreal, making him the third Toronto player to score in two successive home games against them after Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.

    Montreal - Joel Waterman

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    They quite simply need to sharpen up at the back, with Joel Waterman needing to step up and hope others around him also do so.. The centre-back led the way for interceptions (three) and clearances (four) against Columbus, yet it was still not enough.

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Montreal have won five successive matches against Toronto, following a run of neither side ever winning more than three on the spin in this fixture.

    Toronto have won seven and drawn one of their eight matches in which they have held opponents under two goals since September, while they have lost all 13 in which they have shipped two or more.

    Keeping the opposition quiet is therefore key, and this could present a chance to do just that against a Montreal side with fewer points (five) than any side in MLS since mid-March.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Toronto - 39.6%
    Draw - 28.5%
    Montreal - 31.9%

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