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Kevin Durant returns to lineup vs. OKC; Kyrie Irving remains out

Durant had missed the Nets' past three games due to the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

From NBA.com News Services

Kevin Durant scored 36 points in his return to Brooklyn’s lineup.

The Brooklyn Nets got Kevin Durant back in the mix on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, ending his three-game absence from the lineup due to the league’s quarantine policy after being exposed to COVID-19.

Durant finished with 36 points to lead Brooklyn in its 129-116 loss to Oklahoma City. The loss was the second straight for the Nets. Caris LeVert added 21 points, Jarrett Allen had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 12.

The Nets had announced earlier on Saturday that Durant would play, while point guard Kyrie Irving missed his third straight game for personal reasons.

“COVID put us under these circumstances and a lot of guys around the league are under protocol, so it was something we knew coming into the season may happen,” Durant said Sunday after the loss. “I’m glad I’m back playing, (though).”

Game recap: Thunder 129, Nets 116

Midway through the third quarter, Durant drove past Darius Bazley and flipped in a layup as he drew a foul. As Durant strolled to the free-throw line, a frustrated Bazely disgustedly fired the ball off the stanchion.

The three-point play gave Brooklyn a 74-69 lead. It didn’t last, as Oklahoma City went on a 25-7 run to finish the quarter with a 94-81 advantage. The Thunder kept the pressure on in the fourth, as they opened the quarter with a Diallo dunk and a 17-foot jumper sandwiched around a 3-pointer from Theo Maledon.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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