The Brooklyn Nets finally got the NBA’s most powerful trio—Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving—on the court together on Wednesday night, but things didn’t go exactly according to plan. Despite being huge favorites against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Nets suffered a shocking 147-135 loss and were dominated by the Cavs’ second-year player Collin Sexton.
Sexton delivered his arguably best performance as a pro, dropping a career-high 42 points on Brooklyn in two overtimes. This included scoring 20 points in a row as well as several big shots, including the three-pointer that forced a second overtime.
“Somehow, someway, he willed himself into making shots,” said Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff after the game. “You become a much better coach when you’ve got guys that can do that. Don’t overthink it or overcoach it. Just let Collin be Collin and take us home. He was able to do it.”
The display against the Nets was the culmination of Sexton’s furious start of the 2020-21 NBA season. Playing in his third season as a pro, he is currently averaging 27 points per game while also adding 2.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
Brooklyn’s big stars got theirs as well, but it wasn’t enough to get the win in their first game together. Harden had a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists, while Durant had a near triple-double, pouring in 38 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. Irving, who was playing his first game after two weeks, added 37 points.
The loss dropped the Nets to No. 5 in Eastern Conference. They have a 9-7 record and are 1.5 games behind the first-place Philadelphia 76ers.
The Cavaliers, on the other hand, are sixth with a 7-7 record and are 2.5 games removed from first.