The North has not been kind to the Brooklyn Nets in recent years, but this is a new era.
Kevin Durant poured in 31 points while James Harden helped see things through with 16 of his 28 points coming in the fourth quarter as the Nets defeated the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena, 116-103 — Brooklyn’s first win in Toronto since Feb. 4, 2015.
For Durant, it was his fourth game with at least 30 points this season, which is tied for the NBA lead.
While the usual suspects led the way, the Nets got a considerable boost from Blake Griffin, who took advantage of being an afterthought of the Toronto defense from the perimeter.
The veteran forward recorded 14 points while shooting 4-of-6 from three-point range. He had just five made three-pointers all season entering Sunday.
Two of them came in a big third quarter that saw the Nets overturn a seven-point halftime deficit into a lead that extended into double figures as they outscored Toronto 35-17.
A Durant three-pointer with 3:57 to go in the frame gave the Nets a 10-point during a 13-3 run. It was a quick answer to a Griffin three-pointer from the right corner.
The Raptors answered with an 8-0 to close the gap, but Durant put an end to it with another three-pointer from the left.
It sparked an 11-2 run to close out the third as the Nets entered the final stanza up 11.
They were able to hold a healthy advantage for the first six minutes of the fourth while Durant was on the bench.
With the Raptors pulling within seven, Harden picked a perfect time to hit his first three-pointer of the afternoon, 24-footer from the right side to re-extend the Nets’ lead to double-digits with 4:34 to go.
He added a step-back three just a minute later to accentuate an 8-0 Nets run that put them up 15. But lazy Nets play opened the door for the Raptors to answer with a quick 7-0 run in less than a minute to bring it back down to single-digits with two minutes to go.
Harden tough put an exclamation point on his strong finish with eight straight points to end a successful night in Canada.