Kevin Durant scored 31 points on 11-for-15 shooting in his most productive performance in 2 1/2 months, as the Brooklyn Nets blew out the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-97 on Tuesday afternoon.
The game was rescheduled from the previous night, in the aftermath of a fatal police shooting of a Black man in a nearby suburb. The Timberwolves held a moment of silence before tipoff for 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was killed after a traffic stop. Players from both teams wore black warmup shirts that read, “With liberty and justice for all,” with the last two words in all-caps for extra emphasis.
Durant played 27 minutes in his third game back from a strained left hamstring that kept him out for 23 games. The Nets, missing James Harden, Kyrie Irving and LaMarcus Aldridge, were in command from the jump and ahead by 23 points before the midpoint of the second quarter. They built their lead as big as 45 points early in the fourth quarter.
Joe Harris pitched in 23 points for the Nets, who had 31 assists on 46 made baskets.
Anthony Edwards had 27 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves, who played without Karl-Anthony Towns on the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death from COVID-19 complications. Towns chose to sit out and spend the time with his family.
JUST A GAME
Several Timberwolves players have been outspoken on issues of racial justice over the past year, with the death of George Floyd literally hitting close to home — about three miles from Target Center. The trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer whose knee was pressed on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, has been taking place about eight blocks from the arena.
“I can’t imagine what it’s like to be African American, to be an African American parent,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “It’s unacceptable, and it’s devastating to put yourself in their shoes and it’s devastating just to be a part of it. It’s the same thing over and over again. People are losing their lives for no reason, and it’s been happening for hundreds of years.”
The Timberwolves have also carried the burden of the loss of one of their biggest fans, Jackie Cruz-Towns, the mother of their star center who died at age 58 last year. She fought COVID-19 for more than a month.
EMPTY ARENA, AGAIN
With the day-of rescheduling and the afternoon tipoff, the game was played with the gates closed. The Timberwolves have had only two home games in front of fans, with a 3,000-person capacity allowance that started on April 5 as part of the state’s relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions.
Nets: With Harden, Irving and Aldridge all out, Nash put Chris Chiozza and Nicolas Claxton in the starting lineup for the first time, the 17th and 18th different players to appear in the first five for the Nets in just 54 games this season. They have used 32 different combinations. … Chiozza hurt his right hand in the first half and did not return. He had four points and five assists in 14 minutes.
Timberwolves: D’Angelo Russell scored 15 points in 20 minutes against his former team. … Naz Reid started for the 14th time this season in place of Towns. He had two points, in 16 minutes.
Nets: Visit Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Timberwolves: Host Milwaukee on Wednesday.