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Nic Claxton Grabs Career-High 14 Rebounds

Claxton has scored in double-figures in nine of his last 10 games

Nic Claxton’s trajectory is rising, and Brooklyn’s third-year big man keeps checking off new boxes along the way.

In Sunday’s 121-119 overtime win against the San Antonio Spurs at Barclays Center, Claxton grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds to go with 16 points. It was his third career double-double and his second in the last five games.

“There’s stuff that we expect out of him,” said Kevin Durant. “We want him to be available to play and he’s been here for us. He had a tough stretch early on and being down for a month or so. To see him get his stamina back up and play with that energy for 30 minutes and get a double-double, the last month or so, he’s been playing great ball.”

Claxton has scored in double-figures in a career-best seven straight games and also nine of his last 10. That dates back to his return to the starting lineup on Dec. 14, during which he’s also started nine of his last 10 games. Over his last 10 games, Claxton is averaging 13.6 points on 70.6 percent shooting with 6.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 27.4 minutes per game.

“He’s definitely improving,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash. “He seems like he has more endurance. Play longer stretches. He’s stronger, more physical. He’s better around the basket at both ends. He’s better at facilitating the offense with his running into actions and his free throw mechanics are even improving and he’s making more free throws and looks good. Lot of growth from Nic and really proud of him.”

“Just me being more aggressive,” said Claxton. “Just me being a lot stronger than I was last year. Just trusting in my body and like I said on the offensive end just knowing how to play off those guys and knowing how they want to guard James or KD and just getting money off of that.”

Claxton continues to build that chemistry, particularly with Harden, who had 12 assists on Sunday and is second in the league with 9.7 per game. The rim-rolling Claxton was a favorite Harden target once they began playing together last season. Claxton’s 2021-22 season was quickly interrupted by an illness that cost him a month of action followed by a few weeks of getting back in form once he returned.

He and Harden are back to building on things as Claxton’s impact has grown and he’s put together the most consistent stretch of his young career.

“It’s pretty natural,” said Claxton. “I make the game easier for him. He makes the game easier for me. And we've definitely grown that relationship on and off the court now to where it's pretty natural. We can just go out there and hoop and I know how he wants the screen set, I know where he wants me to be for the most part and I think it's only going to get better from here.”

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