Hired by Brooklyn on June 30, a few hours after Kevin Durant’s failed transfer request, Royce O’Neale is holding a new benchmark action in the Nets jersey. The winger, who arrived from Utah against a first-round pick, gave his franchise victory against Miami (102-101) by scoring on the offensive rebound after a long shot missed by Kyrie Irving. As against Portland, at the end of November (108-107). Heat star Jimmy Butler (26 points, 8 rebounds) had the match point three seconds from the buzzer, but the winger got impaled in the Brooklyn defense and his attempt, challenged by O’Neale, stumbled on the circle.
Winner for the 14th time in his last 15 matches, Brooklyn is now only one length behind Boston at the top of the Eastern Conference. But the Nets left Miami with another thought in mind: the condition of Kevin Durant. The local superstar (17 points, 5 rebounds Sunday evening) left the floor at the end of the third quarter, looking worried (80-79, 35th).
Irving still decisive
In question: a shock with Butler, involuntarily fell on his right knee after a drive. ” It will be checked tomorrow (Monday) and we will have more information at that time. I think he’ll get an MRI, just to make sure he’s okay. », said his coach Jacque Vaughn. Without Durant, his men resisted Tyler Herro’s hot shot (24 points, 8 of 21 shooting) at the start of the fourth quarter.
Voted sixth man of the year in 2022, the back planted an award-winning basket, a difficult “step-back” and three free throws to widen the gap in favor of Miami (90-81, 38th). Top scorer of the evening (29 points, 6 assists), Kyrie Irving then took things in hand by distilling two caviars for pivot Nic Claxton (13 points, 3 blocks) before giving Brooklyn the advantage himself ( 97-98, 44th).
After a dunk from Butler to put Miami back in control (101-100, 47th), “Uncle Drew” missed his last shot, in first intention behind the arc, but Royce O’Neale saved the day for the Nets. Far from Brooklyn, Miami remains eighth in the Western Conference with a barely positive record (21 wins – 20 losses).
The Nets have won 75% of their games – 24 of 32 – since Jacque Vaughn took over as coach on November 2. The best record in the NBA over the period. His predecessor Steve Nash had lost five of the franchise’s first seven meetings.