Ben Simmons shines, Royce O’Neale tips in


The Brooklyn Nets visited the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center on Thursday and won 109-107. Forward Kevin Durant and 35 points and eight rebounds while forward Royce O’Neale had a triple-double of 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists, including the game-winning tip-in.

Thursday’s game was contested throughout, but the Nets made their push in the third quarter. Ben Simmons had his best game of the season with 15 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists and looked confident on the floor.

Blazers guard Damian Lillard had 25 points and 11 assists and guard Anfernee Simons had 24 points and 2 steals. Brooklyn was down by 11 points in the third quarter, but came back to win the game by playing defense and sharing the ball.

Here are the Nets player grades for Thursday’s win:

Kevin Durant: A+

Durant started the game slow as he was letting things develop for his teammates. Durant did a good job of facilitating the offense to allow guys like Harris to go off in the first quarter. Durant started taking over in the second quarter by taking advantage of anyone who guarded him by shooting over them and drawing fouls to get to the free-throw line.

Royce O’Neale: A+

O’Neale’s shot has been off as of late, but that didn’t stop him from making an impact in this game. O’Neale did what he could defensively to stymie the likes of Jerami Grant and Josh Hart by using his strength to prevent those guys from driving to the basket. The former Utah Jazz defender turned into a point god by racking up assists like they were going out of style. O’Neale did an excellent job of keeping the offense flowing.

Joe Harris: B+

Harris started the game hot by absolutely raining three’s in the first quarter. Harris had one of his best shooting games of the season and it helped spread things out for guys like Durant and Simmons to be able to do damage in the painted area. Harris remained patient on the perimeter and when the ball found its way to help, he was ready to shoot the ball…

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