CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)Kevin Durant scored 27 points and the Brooklyn Nets erased a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the short-handed Charlotte Hornets 98-94 on Saturday night, improving to 2-0 since Kyrie Irving’s suspension.
Cam Thomas added 21 points for the Nets and Nic Claxton had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Terry Rozier returned from a seven-game absence and led Charlotte with 25 points on six 3-pointers. P.J. Washington and Kelly Oubre Jr. each had 18 points for the Hornets, who have lost four straight since beating the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
The Hornets outscored the Nets 17-6 to open the fourth quarter to take an 11-point lead and appeared ready to pull away.
Rozier knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, Nick Richards added a three-point play and Rozier made a free throw after Nic Claxton was assessed a technical foul for disputing a call.
But the Nets came storming back behind Durant and Thomas. They trimmed the lead to two on a corner 3 from Joe Harris, then tied the game when Thomas stole a pass at midcourt and was fouled on a layup attempt. He connected on both free throws with 2:39 remaining.
Thomas gave the Nets the lead on a drive before Washington knocked down a 3 from the top of the key to give Charlotte a 92-91 lead with about a minute to play.
But Durant took over from there.
The 12-time NBA All-Star made a big 3 from the right wing to give the Nets the lead for good and added a baseline jumper to push Brooklyn’s lead to four.
Mason Plumlee got an offensive rebound off a tipped Rozier 3-pointer with 27 seconds left to cut the lead in half before Thomas knocked home two free throws to make it a two-possession game with 14 seconds left.
Rozier missed two 3s on the other end and the Nets (4-6) escaped with the win.
Nets: Seth Curry returned to action while Ben Simmons was out for the fourth straight game with left knee soreness.
Hornets: Dennis Smith Jr., who has been filling in admirably at point guard in the absence of Rozier and LaMelo Ball, left the game in the first half with a sprained left ankle and did not return. Ball has missed nine games and Rozier was out seven with sprained ankles of their own.
Nets: At Dallas on Monday night.
Hornets: Host Washington on Monday night.
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