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Nets hold off Pacers for second win of NBA season, Bucks march on

Joe Harris #12 high fives Kevin Durant #7 during the game against the Indiana Pacers. Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images via AFP

Kevin Durant scored 36 points on a milestone night Monday to help the Brooklyn Nets fend off the Indiana Pacers 116-109 – claiming a badly needed second win of the NBA season.

As the Nets ended a four-game slide, the Milwaukee Bucks remained the only unbeaten team in the league, improving to 6-0 with a hard-fought 110-108 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

The Bucks, led by 31 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo, were up by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, but were pushed to the wire by the Pistons.

Cade Cunningham, who led Detroit with 27 points, was off-target twice in the final minute — with the Bucks’ lead down to three – and two free throws from Milwaukee center Brook Lopez proved to be enough.

Lopez finished with 24 points and Jrue Holiday added a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who play the Pistons again on Wednesday.

In Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving scored 28 points and Nic Claxton chipped in 19 for the Nets, who led by as many as 24 points but were tied at 100-100 with 6:54 to play.

“We stayed poised,” Durant said in an on-court post-game interview. “They threw a lot of junk in the game, running and jumping us at halfcourt, pressuring us, trying to speed the game up.

“I think we took our time, guys made shots down the stretch, got stops as well.”

Brooklyn took a 92-85 lead into the final quarter, but Indiana tied it up on Chris Duarte’s driving layup.

Brooklyn answered with a two-handed dunk from Claxton off a miss by Irving and a pull-up jump shot from Durant — who finally clinched the victory with a pair of free throws.

Durant passed Vince Carter for 19th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He now has 25,752.

“Vince Carter is the first player I watched and idolized as a kid, so it’s pretty cool to pass him up,” Durant said.

After watching his star-studded team get off to a struggling start this season, Nets coach Steve Nash said he liked what he saw from them.

“The win is nice, but I care much more about the process,” Nash said. “I thought our process was great, our spirit was great. We were connected. We played hard.”

Elsewhere, Sacramento’s Davion Mitchell produced two clutch jump shots in the final 1:26 as the Kings rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to beat the Hornets 115-108 in Charlotte.

Kevin Huerter scored 26 points and Mitchell came off the bench to add 23 for the Kings, who notched their second straight win after starting the season 0-4.

‘Mental toughness’

Sacramento out-scored Charlotte 37-18 in the third period, taking the lead for the first time on Matthew Dellavedova’s three-pointer with 3:43 left in the quarter.

Charlotte – coming off an overtime victory over the NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Saturday — battled back to regain the lead in the fourth, and it was tied up after Charlotte’s Jalen McDaniels drained a three-pointer with 1:39 remaining.

Mitchell responded with a three-pointer and a jump shot and the Kings held on for the victory, despite seeing De’Aaron Fox depart early with a knee injury.

“What a game from our guys,” Kings coach Mike Brown said. “When you go on the road, a lot of times to get a win it’s just about mental toughness.”

Paul George was the hero in Los Angeles, his fall-away basket with 6.2 seconds remaining lifting the Clippers to a 95-93 victory over the Houston Rockets. The margin stood up when George, who scored 35 points, grabbed the rebound of Eric Gordon’s miss with 2.3 seconds to play in a game that featured 19 lead changes.

In Washington, James Harden scored 23 points and handed out 17 assists to fuel the short-handed Philadelphia 76ers in a 118-111 victory over the Wizards.

Tyrese Maxey added 28 points for the Sixers and Georges Niang made four three-pointers on the way to 12 points as Philadelphia won despite the absence of star center Joel Embiid, who was sidelined by illness.

In Salt Lake City, the Utah Jazz withstood a 37-point performance from Memphis star Ja Morant in a 121-105 victory over the Grizzlies.

Lauri Markkanen scored 31 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Jazz, whose 6-2 record is a surprise of the early season.

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