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story.lead_photo.caption Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant (7) defends against New Orleans Pelicans' James Johnson (16) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK — Kevin Durant returned from a 23-game absence to spark Brooklyn's most explosive half of the season, finishing with 17 points and perfect shooting in the Nets' 139-111 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.

Durant came off the bench with about 7 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter and by the time the period ended the Nets had 79 points and a 20-point halftime lead. Brooklyn was a sizzling 14 for 18 (78%) in its 43-point quarter.

Durant went 5 for 5 and added seven rebounds and five assists in 19 minutes in his return from a strained left hamstring. He was originally listed in the starting lineup, but was removed in a revised lineup distributed minutes before his first game since Feb. 13.

The All-Star forward got an ovation from the first home crowd he'd played in front of with the Nets. Barclays Center only began allowing limited crowds on Feb. 23.

Kyrie Irving scored 24 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 in the Nets' ninth straight home win.

Eric Bledsoe had 26 points for the Pelicans before being ejected in the third quarter. Zion Williamson had just 16 on 4-for-12 shooting, ending his streak of 25 straight games with 20 points and 50% shooting. That tied Shaquille O'Neal for the longest such streak since 1954-55, when the shot clock debuted.

WIZARDS 131, MAGIC 116

ORLANDO, Fla. — Bradley Beal returned from a five-game absence to score 26 points, Russell Westbrook had his 20th triple-double of the season and Washington made a season-best 19 3-pointers to beat Orlando.

Washington snapped a four-game losing streak, but not before it blew most of a 21-point third-quarter lead. The Wizards also had a second-half meltdown Monday night, when they coughed up a 19-point lead in a loss to Toronto.

Out since March 27 with a hip contusion, Beal was added to the starting lineup just prior to tipoff and showed no signs of rust. He made 11 of 19 shots and 4 of 6 3s.

Westbrook had with 23 points, 15 assists and 14 rebounds in 26 minutes. He has five triple-doubles in his past six games and is the NBA's only player averaging double digits in points, rebounds and assists.

Terrence Ross scored 24 points for Orlando.

PACERS 141, TIMBERWOLVES 137

INDIANAPOLIS — Aaron Holiday scored 22 points, brother Justin Holiday had 21 and short-handed Indiana beat Minnesota.

The Pacers were without All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis and three other injured starters, and had lost nine of 10 home games.

Karl Anthony-Towns led NBA-worst Minnesota with 32 points. Anthony Edwards had 27.

ROCKETS 102, MAVERICKS 93

HOUSTON — John Wall had 31 points and seven assists in his return from injury and Houston beat Dallas to snap a five-game skid.

Wall missed the previous four games with swelling in his right knee. Christian Wood added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets.

Kristaps Porzingis had 23 points and 12 rebounds in his return for Dallas after missing a game with a sprained right wrist. Luka Doncic also had 23 points.

CELTICS 101, KNICKS 99

BOSTON — Jaylen Brown had 32 points and 10 rebounds and Boston rallied in the fourth quarter to beat New York.

Jayson Tatum committed eight turnovers but finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Marcus Smart added 17 points, 14 in the fourth quarter, and nine assists for the Celtics.

Tristan Thompson had seven points, eight rebounds and three blocks in his return after missing 12 games due to the league's health and safety protocols.

RJ Barrett scored 29 points for New York.

GRIZZLIES 131, HAWKS 113

ATLANTA — Grayson Allen scored 17 of his season-high 30 points in a dominant third quarter, leading Memphis past short-handed Atlanta.

Ja Morant added 14 of his 19 points in the Grizzlies' decisive third quarter. Memphis outscored Atlanta 43-23 in the period to break open a close game.

Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the Grizzlies' fourth consecutive win. Bogdan Bogdanovic led Atlanta with 24 points.

HORNETS 113, THUNDER 102

OKLAHOMA CITY — Jalen McDaniels had a career-high 21 points in his second career start to help Charlotte beat Oklahoma City.

McDaniels also had six rebounds and three assists. Terry Rozier scored 17 points, Miles Bridges had 16 and Devonte' Garaham and Cody Zeller added 15 each, and Zeller had 14 rebounds.

Aleksej Pokusevski led the Thunder with a career-high 25 points behind a franchise rookie-record seven 3-pointers. Theo Maledon also had 25 points.

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