Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant high-fives teammates Joe Harris, 12, and Nicolas Claxton in the first half  Wednesday night in New York. Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Kevin Durant returned from a 23-game absence to spark Brooklyn’s most explosive half of the season, finishing with 17 points and perfect shooting in the Nets’ 139-111 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.

Durant came off the bench with about 7 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter and by the time the quarter ended the Nets had 79 points and a 20-point halftime lead. Brooklyn was a sizzling 14 for 18 (78%) in its 43-point quarter.

Durant went 5 for 5 and added seven rebounds and five assists in 19 minutes in his return from a strained left hamstring. He was originally listed in the starting lineup, but was removed in a revised lineup distributed minutes before his first game since Feb. 13.

The All-Star forward got an ovation from the first home crowd he’d played in front of with the Nets. Barclays Center only began allowing limited crowds on Feb. 23.

Kyrie Irving scored 24 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 in the Nets’ ninth straight home win.

Eric Bledsoe scored 26 points for the Pelicans before being ejected in the third quarter.


PACERS 141, TIMBERWOLVES 137: Aaron Holiday scored 22 points, brother Justin Holiday had 21 and short-handed Indiana won at home.

The Pacers were without All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis and three other injured starters, and had lost 9 of 10 home games.

Karl Anthony-Towns led NBA-worst Minnesota with 32 points. Anthony Edwards had 27.

WIZARDS 131, MAGIC 116: Bradley Beal returned from a five-game absence and scored 26 points, Russell Westbrook had his 20th triple-double of the season and visiting Washington made a season-best 19 3-pointers to beat Orlando.

Washington snapped a four-game losing streak, but not before it blew most of a 21-point third-quarter lead.

HORNETS 113, THUNDER 102: Jalen McDaniels had a career-high 21 points in his second career start to help visiting Charlotte beat Oklahoma City.


GRIZZLIES 131, HAWKS 113: Grayson Allen scored 17 of his season-high 30 points in a dominant third quarter, leading Memphis to a win at Atlanta.

Ja Morant added 14 of his 19 points in the Grizzlies’ decisive third quarter. Memphis outscored Atlanta 43-23 in the quarter to break open a close game.

ROCKETS 102, MAVERICKS 93: John Wall had 31 points and seven assists in his return from injury, and host Houston snapped a five-game skid.


PISTONS: The Detroit Pistons signed forward Tyler Cook to a multiyear contract.

The 6-foot-8 Cook signed a 10-day contract with the Pistons on March 18, followed by a second 10-day deal March 28.

Comments are not available on this story.