PHILADELPHIA - Kevin Durant had 29 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists, James Harden scored 20 points and the Brooklyn Nets closed with a 16-1 run to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 114-109 on Friday night as each team played without a much-discussed star guard.
The Nets were missing Kyrie Irving, who isn’t with the team due to his refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Ben Simmons sat out the home opener for personal reasons and the Sixers do not know when the three-time All-Star will return.
They could have used Simmons’ defense to shut down the Nets late.
The 76ers tossed up airballs on consecutive possessions early in Brooklyn’s run. The Nets had never led or tied until LaMarcus Aldridge’s dunk with 48 seconds left made it 108-108. He sank the free throw for the one-point lead.
Durant made two free throws to seal Brooklyn’s comeback from 14 points down.
Philadelphia's Joel Embiid scored 19 points on a sore right knee suffered against New Orleans in the opener. Tobias Harris and Seth Curry each scored 23 points for the 76ers.
Simmons has not played since his offseason trade demand. He met with the Sixers before the morning shootaround. Coach Doc Rivers said it was a "productive day" and hoped it was a start toward bringing Simmons back into the fold.