The Rundown: Kyrie nails game-winner, Nets win 4th straight

Published December 17, 2022, 2:50 PMPolo Bustamante

Kyrie Irving knocked down a triple at the buzzer to help the Nets grab their fourth win in a row.



Hawks 125, Hornets 106

Kings 122, Pistons 113

Magic 117, Celtics 109

Cavaliers 118, Pacers 112

76ers 118, Warriors 106

Nets 119, Raptors 116

Knicks 114, Bulls 91

Timberwolves 112, Thunder 110

Mavericks 130, Trail Blazers 110

Lakers 126, Nuggets 108

What went down

A lot hasn’t been going Kyrie Irving’s way this season. The outspoken point guard has been plagued by controversy which saw him suspended by the team and dropped by Nike. Lost in all that drama is the fact that Irving is still a supremely talented player. He’s been playing well this month, averaging 27.0 points and 5.4 assists on 49 percent shooting. Those numbers translated to wins as the Brooklyn Nets are 6-1 so far in December.

Irving starred once again in the Nets’ win today against the always-tough Toronto Raptors.

Tied at 116 with less than four seconds on the clock, the Nets could have gone to Kevin Durant for the game-winner. Instead, they went with the hot hand. They inbounded the ball to Irving and he went to work against Fred VanVleet.

He got to the top of the key and then shrugged off VanVleet with a stepback and had a wide-open look at the basket. That was all Irving needed. He sank the 3-pointer at the buzzer to cap Brooklyn’s 18-point comeback.

Irving finished with 32 points on 59 percent shooting. Durant added 28 to back Irving up, while Yuta Watanabe and Nick Claxton combined for 32 points. The Nets are now on a four-game winning streak and have won eight of their last 10.

Big-time baller

Putting Luka Doncic (33 points, six rebounds, nine assists) would have been a cop-out.

That’s why today’s big-time baller is his teammate, Christian Wood, who exploded for 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting. Wood has struggled so far this season and hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations that were placed on him when the Dallas Mavericks acquired him in the offseason. Wood hasn’t secured a spot in the starting lineup because of his shoddy defense. His offense hasn’t been up to par as well. He’s averaging only 16.6 points, far from the 20-point average the Mavs wanted from him.

Wood will need more big-time baller games like this to help the Mavs rise back into playoff contention.

What he said

De’Anthony Melton summed up the Joel Embiid experience pretty well. The NBA’s scoring leader once again had a big game. He scored 34 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, dished out four assists, stole the ball four times, and blocked two shots.

Embiid is averaging 39.2 points on 60 percent shooting in December so far. He’s hitting 1.4 3-pointers, shooting at a 53.4 percent clip.

Like Melton said: “Unguardable.”

Did you see that?

Pat Riley fears no one. Not even the league itself.