Kevin Durant hit 21 of his 23 points for Brooklyn in the first half. “This is what happens when you come into work and want to work from scratch,” Vaughn commented.
Nine players threw home the double points, good for a seventh consecutive win. Then they missed Kyrie Irving with a calf injury.
In the previous two games, the Nets had to make up 18 and 19 points, but now the booty was done quickly. Brooklyn scored 11 of its first 12 shots to go 46-17 after the first quarter, the largest margin of any quarter in an NBA season.
The Warriors had an excuse not to show up for Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr knew what he was about: numerous early losses of the ball by his men. “And then the nets finished it all. They were phenomenal in the first half.”
After two quarters, there were 91-51 on the board. The biggest gap was 44 points. In the end, the final judgment was 30 points: 143-113.
James Wiseman was the best visitor with 30 points, and the champion lost the day before by 38 points in the New York Knicks (132-94). At Christmas against Memphis, the Warriors and Wiggins may recover, but Curry still has a sore shoulder.
The best first half in NBA history is by the name of Phoenix, who scored no fewer than 107 points before halftime against Denver on November 10, 1990. That game eventually ended 173-143.
The Warriors made 92 against Chicago on October 29, 2018, for a final score of 149-124.
Up in the East, things got worse for the top two: Milwaukee and Boston each won 22 times, but now have lost for the ninth and 10th consecutive time this season. The Bucks battled 114-106 in third-place Cleveland (22-11).
Donovan Mitchell scored 36 points for his hosts, and Giannis Antetokounmpo reached his tally this season with 45 points, but it wasn’t enough. The Cavs have the best home record this season: 16-2, which is about as good as they did in 2015-16, the season they clinched the title.
Boston, which was the NBA leader until last week, has lost 5 of its last 6 games. Indiana was also very strong. Tyrese Halliburton scored 33 points, leading the visiting Pacers to 30 before halftime. The Celts fought back, but failed: 112-117. Jason Tatum neat 41 points.
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