Brooklyn Nets
Photo: New York Post

Kyrie Irving (34 pts, 12 pds), Kevin Durant (25 pts, 12 pds), and the Nets are in the playoffs after disposing of the Cavs in the play-in (115-108). Cleveland will have to challenge Atlanta or Charlotte.

Kyrie Irving to start, Kevin Durant to finish: The Nets, led by their star duo, beat the Cavaliers in a playoff game (115-108) on Tuesday, qualifying for the NBA playoffs, where they will challenge the Celtics in the first round.

Kevin Durant's Best Option is B...
Kevin Durant's Best Option is Brooklyn

The logic was respected at the Barclays Center, where the game, it was thought, seemed bent at the end of the first quarter, Brooklyn then leading by twenty points (40-20).

Irving, who finished with 34 points and 12 assists, was flying so much over the debates that he was still 100% successful on shots in the first period (9/9, 12/15 in the end), including a basket at the buzzer just before the break that allowed his team to continue to lead quietly at the break (57-43).

Then, without warning, Cleveland gradually came back into the game, six points behind the Nets, twice in the 4th quarter, thanks to Darius Garland (32 pts) and Evan Mobley (17 pts). Durant (25 points, 11 assists, 3 blocks, 2 interceptions) then air-conditioned the opponents’ ardor, planting the banderillas that count.

Behind the arc after the first close, then twice at mid-distance to turn off the second.

Taking advantage of the defensive largesse that Brooklyn will have to erase against Boston, the Cavaliers even came back to minus five in the last minute.

This time “KD” and Kyrie, logically loving their opponents, found teammates to score, before maintaining a sufficient gap in free throws, to live a stress-free end to the game.

The evening ended with contained joy, as emotion had invaded the Barclays Center a few hours earlier, after the morning attack on the subway not far from Brooklyn, where a man opened fire, injuring 23 people, ten of them by gunfire.

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A minute of silence was observed before the match. During the day, the entire Nets had expressed their dismay, Kevin Durant declaring: “It’s devastating. We pray and hope for the best for all those affected.”

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