Irving and Durant lead Nets past Suns; Wizards win eighth in a row

KYRIE Irving had 34 points with 12 assists as the Brooklyn Nets earned a 128-119 victory over the visiting Phoenix Suns on Sunday. — BROOKLYN NETS FB PAGE

KYRIE Irving had 34 points with 12 assists, while Kevin Durant scored 33 points after a brief time away, as the Brooklyn Nets earned a 128-119 victory over the visiting Phoenix Suns on Sunday in a showdown between two of the top teams in the NBA.

Blake Griffin scored 16 points, as the Nets backed up their standing as the top team in the Eastern Conference.

Devin Booker scored 36 points for Phoenix, while Deandre Ayton scored 20 points with 13 rebounds, as the Suns dropped consecutive games for the first time since late January.

Phoenix, which entered as the No. 2 team in the Western Conference, is now 2-2 on a five-game East Coast trip with a final game at the New York Knicks on Monday.

Durant, who entered as a substitute with eight minutes remaining in the first half, showed little rust after missing the last three games with a thigh contusion. He was 12 of 21 from the field in 28 minutes of action.

After trailing by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, the Nets entered the fourth period with a slim 97-92 lead. They pushed it to 102-92 less than a minute into the fourth quarter on a shot inside and a three-pointer from Durant, who set the tone for the final 12 minutes. The Nets outscored the Suns (31-27) in the fourth quarter.

The Nets pushed the advantage to 109-95 with just over eight minutes remaining after a tip-in by Jeff Green and held off the Suns from there.

Green and Joe Harris scored 10 points each for the Nets, while DeAndre Jordan had 12 rebounds. Irving, who was 5 of 7 from three-point range, reached 30 points for the 15th time this season. The Nets won the season series 2-0 over the Suns, with Durant and Irving not on the court for Brooklyn’s 128-124 victory at Phoenix on Feb. 16.

The Nets, who shot 13 of 28 (46.4 percent) from three-point range, won without James Harden, who missed his 10th consecutive game with a hamstring injury. Brooklyn is now 6-4 over those 10 games.

Meanwhile, Bradley Beal scored 33 points and the Washington Wizards rallied past the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers (119-110) for their eighth straight win.

The Wizards, who trailed by eight early in the fourth quarter, closed the game with an 11-2 run.

Russell Westbrook had 14 points and 11 assists, and Robin Lopez and Raul Neto scored 14 points each for Washington (27-33). Beal was 13 of 24 from the field.

Darius Garland scored 28 points and Jarrett Allen added a career-high 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who were without guard Collin Sexton (concussion), their leading scorer.

The Cavaliers (21-39) have lost five of six. — Reuters