Durant explodes for 51 against Pistons; Giannis, Middleton fuel Bucks’ victory
Published: Dec 13, 2021 05:08 PM
Kevin Durant used all the weapons in his arsenal on Sunday, exploding for an NBA season-high 51 points and dishing out nine assists as the Brooklyn Nets clobbered the lowly Detroit Pistons, 116-104.

The 11-time All-Star and the league's current leading scorer recorded his seventh 50-point game of his career and the fifth highest scoring performance in Nets franchise history. Deron Williams holds the record with 57 points against Charlotte in 2012.

Durant says he knew he had to take on a bigger role Sunday because the Nets were missing 2018 MVP James Harden and power forward Paul Millsap. 

Kyrie Irving, who is refusing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, has yet to play a game this season.

Durant added seven rebounds as the Nets won for the third time in their last four games. 

Patty Mills added 18 points and five assists for the Nets, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and Cam Thomas scored 13 for Brooklyn, who held the Pistons to just 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Cade Cunningham had 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Pistons, who are last in the Eastern Conference with just four wins on the season. 

Frank Jackson had 25 points and Saben Lee finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo posted his first triple-double of the season and Khris Middleton scored 24 points to lead the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks to a dominant 112-97 victory over the New York Knicks.

Antetokounmpo scored 20 points with 10 rebounds and 11 assists. He and Middleton led seven Bucks players to score in double figures in the wire-to-wire win.

Bobby Portis added 19 points and Rodney Hood scored 14 off the bench for Milwaukee, who led 61-48 by halftime.

The Bucks outscored the Knicks 46-30 in the paint and converted 12 offensive ­rebounds into 22 points.

The short-handed Knicks lost for the eighth time in 10 games. They are 1-6 since coach Tom Thibodeau removed Kemba Walker from the rotation, and Walker again didn't play by the coach's ­decision even though Alec Burks was inactive for personal reasons, and RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin were unavailable due to Covid-19 protocols.

Forward Quentin Grimes, making his first NBA start, led the Knicks with 27 points.