Nets forward Kessler Edwards (14) reacts after making a three-point...

Nets forward Kessler Edwards (14) reacts after making a three-point basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Credit: AP/Adam Hunger

Tuesday was a big night for the Long Island Nets. And the G League team didn’t even have a game.

Four rookies who graduated from Long Island to the parent Brooklyn Nets made key contributions in the Nets’ stunning 131-129 overtime victory over Toronto at Barclays Center.

"I love the kids," Nets owner Joe Tsai exclaimed with a thumb’s up emoji on Twitter after the game. And what was not to love?

With the Nets’ roster decimated by a COVID-19 outbreak that landed seven players on the NBA’s health and safety protocols list, the team had only eight available bodies for Tuesday night’s game. That’s the NBA’s minimum to keep a game from getting postponed.

So Long Island Nets players David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards, Day’Ron Sharpe and Cam Thomas were forced to log major minutes along with Kevin Durant and three other veterans.

Duke made his first start in his third career game. At times, Durant was on the floor with the four rookies. At other times, Patty Mills was the only non-neophyte on the court.

And it all worked perfectly as the Nets notched one of their most inspiring victories of the season.

"I can’t even explain how I feel," said Durant, who had a triple-double with 34 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in a game the Nets weren’t sure he was going to suit up for because of a sore right ankle. "We’re down seven players. We could have easily just punted this game .. . . I’m so proud just to be part of this group and play with these young dudes. Man, it was amazing to be out there."

Durant was on the court for a game-high 48:11 (the superstar said he never had any doubt he was going to play).

Durant, Mills (30 points), Blake Griffin and Nic Claxton (a former Long Island Nets who practiced with the G League team in late November) had a lot of help from their young friends.

Edwards and Sharpe were called up from Long Island on Monday when word of the COVID situation started buzzing around Brooklyn.

Nets forward Kevin Durant high fives with forward Kessler Edwards...

Nets forward Kevin Durant high fives with forward Kessler Edwards in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Edwards scored 17 points and had 10 rebounds while playing 43:41, which was the second-most minutes on the Nets to Durant.

"Just fun – a lot of learning," Edwards said. "Letting KD just lead us. It’s cool being out there with those guys. Fresh legs, a lot of energy. Dudes I know pretty well already."

Duke, a 6-4 guard, had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Sharpe only played 13:11, but he had seven points and seven rebounds. Thomas scored four points in 22:14.

Under NBA rules, the seven players on the COVID list (including star James Harden) must quarantine for 10 days or until they have two negative tests within 24 hours. The Nets on Wednesday evening officially ruled out all seven for Thursday's home game against Philadelphia.

The Nets have seven games over the next 12 days, including a Christmas matchup against the Lakers in Los Angeles.

The Nets will sign guard Langston Galloway to a 10-day hardship exception contract to give them nine players for Thursday night’s game, ESPN reported. Galloway, 30, broke in with the Knicks in 2014-15 and has also played for New Orleans, Sacramento, Detroit and Phoenix in a seven-year career.

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