The Brooklyn Nets have skyrocketed up the NBA standings after an extended hot streak. After winning 19 of their last 23, Brooklyn holds the league's second-best record despite a 5-9 start. And several Nets received recognition for their stellar play in the first returns of the All-Star fan vote, including Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Nic Claxton.

Durant and Irving dominated the polls, ranking first in the East frontcourt and guard votes respectively. The duo has challenged Boston's Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for the league's top pairing this season, averaging a combined 57.1 points over their last 14 games.

Durant is having among the best seasons of his career, averaging 29.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists while missing only one game. The former MVP dropped 44 points on 15 of 22 shooting Wednesday night in Chicago.

Durant is shooting a career-high 56.8 percent from the field, the league's best mark among 36 players attempting 16.5 or more shots per game. The incredible shooting efficiency has come despite the forward taking just 12.9 percent of his shots at the rim this season. The 15-year veteran ranked ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Jayson Tatum in the East frontcourt. This year will mark the 13th straight season in which Durant has played that he has been named an All-Star.

Irving has been among the top guards in the association since returning from an eight-game suspension in early November. The fourth-year Net has averaged 25.9 points on 51.5 percent shooting from the field and 40.8 percent from three over his last 20 games.

Irving's fourth-quarter heroics led Brooklyn to several victories during a league-best 12-game win streak. Over his last seven fourth quarters, the guard is averaging 12.3 points on 32 of 56 (57.1 percent) shooting from the field and 11 of 27 (40.7 percent) shooting from three. The New Jersey native is leading the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring this season at 8.9 points per game.

Irving missed over half of last season while refusing to comply with New York's workplace vaccine mandate. The former number one pick was named a starter in the All-Star game the season prior, the seventh selection of his 11-year career. Irving ranks ahead of Donovan Mitchell, James Harden, Jaylen Brown, Trae Young and more for the top spot in the East backcourt voting.

Fourth-year center Nic Claxton cracked the top 10 in the East frontcourt voting for the first time in his career. Claxton's emergence in the middle this season has been a revelation for a Nets team extremely thin at center.

The 23-year-old has firmly planted himself in the defensive player of the year conversation, ranking second in blocks per game (2.5) while proving to be one of the top perimeter-defending big men in the league. Claxton's isolation defense has been among the Nets' top assets given a switch-heavy scheme. The Georgia product has guarded the most isolations in the league by a wide margin, allowing the second-fewest points per possession among 11 players to guard 55 or more this season.

Following a stellar effort in a win over Toronto last month, Claxton said he feels he has not gotten the respect he deserved for his defensive performance this season.

“Honestly, I feel like I’m one of the best defenders in the league. I feel like I should be in the talk for Defensive Player of the Year. I feel like I haven’t been getting the respect I deserve,” he said postgame. “We’ve been winning, my numbers are good. I’ve been protecting the rim, guarding one through five. So it’s just me being me, doing what I do, bringing that energy. And it’s great for the team.”

Offensively, the center is converting around the rim at a career-best rate, leading the league in field goal percentage (73.3). Claxton has impacted the game offensively in a variety of ways: running the floor, snaring offensive rebounds for putbacks, finishing as a roller and even flashing some self-creation late in the shot clock.

Durant, Irving and Claxton have paved the way for a Nets team that has emerged from the dead after a dysfunctional start to the season. Brooklyn ranks fifth in net rating while holding the league's best record over their last 25 games.

The Nets will continue their push for the league's top record as they close out a three-game road trip with stops in New Orleans and Miami later this week.