Irving back, sparks Nets past Hawks

    NEW YORK. — Kyrie Irving scored 21 points in his first game in nearly two months as the Brooklyn Nets never trailed and cruised to a 108-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night in New York.

    Irving returned from missing 26 games with right shoulder impingement. In his first game since Nov. 14 at Denver, the All-Star guard made 10 of 11 shots, hit his one 3-point try and had three assists in 20 minutes.

    After getting 11 points by halftime, Irving went 5-for-5 from the floor in the third before checking out for the rest of the game. He rested over the final 17:54, exiting after the Nets took an 87-50 lead, and the outcome was never in doubt.

    The Nets, who were 13-13 in Irving’s absence, led by as many as 39 and won their second straight game following a seven-game losing streak.

    In other games, it was San Antonio 105, Toronto 104; Denver 114, LA Clippers 104; New York 124, Miami 121; Utah 127, Washington 116; Memphis 122, Golden State 102; and Phoenix 100, Charlotte 92.

    Spurs 105, Raptors 104

    DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points – 22 in the second half – and visiting San Antonio overcame an 18-point deficit to defeat Toronto.

    DeRozan, who has scored 20 points in 11 straight games, sank two free throws with nine seconds remaining for what proved to be the game-winning points after Marco Belinelli’s 3-pointer had given the Spurs the lead.

    Kyle Lowry sank a 3-pointer with five seconds left to pull Toronto within a point. After San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge missed two free throws with four seconds showing, Toronto’s Pascal Siakam missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

    Nuggets 114, Clippers 104

    Nikola Jokic had 20 points and 15 rebounds for his 21st double-double of the season, Jamal Murray scored 10 of his 19 points from the foul line, and host Denver beat Los Angeles.
    Gary Harris scored 15 points, Michael Porter Jr. 13 and Monte Morris 12 for the Nuggets, who had seven players score in double figures.

    Kawhi Leonard had 30 points, Lou Williams 26 and Montrezl Harrell 25 for the Clippers, who played without Paul George (hamstring injury). Los Angeles cut a 20-point lead down to six in the final minutes but could not complete the rally.

    Knicks 124, Heat 121

    Taj Gibson’s free throw with 1:38 remaining put New York ahead for good, capping a comeback from a 14-point second-half deficit to beat Miami.

    Julius Randle scored a game-high 26 points to lead seven players in double figures for the Knicks, who snapped a five-game skid after outscoring the Heat 40-27 in the fourth quarter. – Field Level Media