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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Austin Rivers catches fire, leads Nuggets to third-straight win

BROOKLYN, NY – Austin Rivers skipped like he was back in Portland dashing the Blazers’ playoff hopes.

His scorching performance Wednesday night against the Nets invoked his stunning scoring binge last spring. Only this time, instead of the playoffs, it came on the second-night of a back-to-back when the Nuggets were searching for a flame.

Rivers poured in 25 points, including 22 in the second half, pacing the Nuggets to a 124-118 win over the Nets. Nikola Jokic, while excellent, wasn’t the indomitable force he’s capable of being.

The victory, which stretched their winning streak to three, took 20-point contributions up and down the roster. Jokic poured 26 points, along with 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Will Barton did 21 points worth of damage to pair with his 10 rebounds.

But Rivers, his irrational confidence and his seven 3-pointers was the X-factor.

Even without James Harden, Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, the Nets clawed to keep it competitive. Led by veterans LaMarcus Aldridge (18 points) and Patty Mills (21), Brooklyn was within one possession as late as the 3:30 mark of the fourth quarter.

DeMarcus Cousins’ fourth-quarter ejection forced Jokic back into the game earlier than anticipated. Cousins ​​had 13 points and six rebounds before picking up two quick technical fouls late in the third and early in the fourth.

The Nuggets improved to 26-21 on the season, with another road game Friday at the Pelicans.

Down 70-58 with 10:50 left in the third quarter, the Nuggets couldn’t gain a foothold against the scrappy Nets. It wasn’t until a Jokic-fueled 12-3 run when the Nuggets carved into Brooklyn’s lead.

Jokic and Barton took turns ringing up the Nets. First they buried back-to-back 3-pointers, then Jokic picked apart the defense with his trademark vision. On one helper, he whipped a pass to former Net Jeff Green for an easy jam. Later, he set up Rivers for one of his three third-quarter 3-pointers. With a commanding 42-26 quarter, the Nuggets wrested momentum and carried a 96-91 lead into the fourth.

World Nation News Desk
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