Durant, Nets rally past Raptors 116-103, clinch playoff spot

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Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) goes up for a shot in front of Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 27, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

TAMPA, Fla. – Kevin Durant scored seven of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, Jeff Green had 22 points and the Brooklyn Nets clinched a playoff spot Tuesday night by rallying late to beat the Toronto Raptors 116-103.

Trailing 90-84 early in the fourth period, Brooklyn used a game-turning 16-2 run to grab control. Later, Durant hit a 3-pointer with 1:47 remaining and glared at the Toronto bench after putting his team up 111-101.

Durant, who was playing his second game after returning from a thigh injury, added 10 rebounds in 33 minutes for his eighth double-double.

“Just all of the adversity that we’ve fought through this year with injuries, protocols, trade situations and guys being in and out of the lineup, I’m very proud of everybody in the organization top to bottom,” Durant said.

Kyrie Irving finished with nine points, six rebounds and four assists. Seven other Nets scored in double figures on the night Brooklyn became the first Eastern Conference team to lock up a playoff spot.

“Tonight was a night where our connectivity really showed because Toronto put us under duress. When things weren’t going our way we could have started to splinter, but our guys stuck with it,” said Brooklyn coach Steve Nash, whose Nets made 13 of 19 shots in the fourth quarter.

The Nets won for a third straight time and the fourth time in five games to prevent Toronto from pulling off the season sweep. The Raptors, who were led by Kyle Lowry’s 24 points, had their five-game home winning streak end. One of those victories was a 114-103 defeat of Brooklyn last week.

On Tuesday, Toronto got outscored 31-24 in the fourth quarter after making just 7 of 21 shots.