NBA: Kyrie Irving's 39 points help the Nets edge out the Clippers 124-120

Kyrie Irving (left) drives past the Clippers' Reggie Jackson during the NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Feb 2, 2021.
Kyrie Irving (left) drives past the Clippers' Reggie Jackson during the NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Feb 2, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 39 points but the Brooklyn Nets nearly collapsed again down the stretch before outlasting the Los Angeles Clippers 124-120 on Tuesday in New York.

Kevin Durant added 28 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who shot 57 per cent from the floor. James Harden posted his fourth triple-double with the Nets and the 50th of his National Basketball Association career by totalling 23 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds.

Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points for the Clippers, who saw a three-game winning streak stopped and lost for only the second time in their past 12 games. Paul George added 26 and Nicolas Batum contributed 21 for Los Angeles, who shot 45.5 per cent on field-goal attempts.

The Nets rebounded from a wild 149-146 loss in Washington on Sunday when they allowed two three-pointers in the final seconds.

Against the Clippers, Brooklyn hit four free throws in the final 9.8 seconds.

Three foul shots by Harden put Brooklyn up 115-106 with 2min 36sec left, and the Nets held a 118-108 lead after a three-pointer by Durant with 1:55 remaining.

Los Angeles scored the next nine points to get within 118-117 on a corner three-pointer by George with 24.8 seconds left. Brooklyn did not score again until Durant hit two free throws for a 120-117 lead with 9.8 ticks remaining.

After two free throws by Leonard made it a one-point game with 7.1 seconds left, Jeff Green's lay-up off a long inbounds pass from Harden made it 122-119 with 5.5 seconds left.

Batum split two free throws with 3.1 seconds left, and Irving sank two free throws with 1.9 seconds left to finally secure the win.

Irving scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, and his reverse lay-up around Leonard and George gave the Nets the lead for good at 104-102 with 4:58 remaining. Irving's go-ahead basket occurred two minutes after Los Angeles held a 102-97 lead after a three-point play by George.

Brooklyn stormed back from a nine-point deficit late in the second quarter and were within 58-57 by half-time after nifty lay-ups by Harden and Irving in the final 35 seconds. The third quarter featured eight lead changes and fours ties as Los Angeles rallied from a six-point deficit in the final 4:20 and took a 90-88 lead on George's 16-footer with 1.1 seconds remaining.

In Orlando, Fred VanVleet set a club record with 54 points, including a career-best 11 three-pointers in 14 attempts, as the visiting Toronto Raptors defeated the Magic 123-108.

The previous club record was 52 by DeMar DeRozan. He also scored the most points ever by an undrafted NBA player, surpassing the 53 scored by Moses Malone of the Houston Rockets against the then-San Diego Clippers in 1982.

Kyle Lowry added a triple-double with 14 points,10 rebounds and 10 assists.

VanVleet scored 17 points in the first quarter and had 28 points by half-time, as he went 8-for-9 from beyond the arc in the first half. His previous career best for three-pointers in a game was seven. The team record for three-pointers in a game is 12, set by Donyell Marshall in 2005.

In Washington, Damian Lillard notched 32 points and eight assists to help the Portland Trail Blazers post a 132-121 victory over the Wizards.

In Indianapolis, Domantas Sabonis shot 13 of 15 from the floor for a career-high-matching 32 points and the Indiana Pacers led the Memphis Grizzlies wire to wire in a 134-116 rout.