NEW YORK — James Harden and Kevin Durant wanted a short while to recollect find out how to play collectively once more.
As soon as they did, the Brooklyn Nets actually bought rolling — they usually would possibly nonetheless get to a different gear when Kyrie Irving rejoins them.
“The earlier we will be on the court docket collectively, it may be scary hours,” Harden mentioned.
They give the impression of being fairly fearsome already.
Harden delivered 32 factors and a triple-double in his Brooklyn debut, Durant scored a season-high 42 factors in his first recreation again along with his former teammate, and the Nets confirmed off their potent potential in a 122-115 victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night time.
Harden had 14 assists and 12 rebounds after being cleared to play earlier within the afternoon after all of the gamers within the blockbuster commerce that introduced him from Houston had accomplished their physicals. Harden additionally had 9 turnovers and Durant had six, with some sloppiness whereas Harden bought used to his new teammates.
“Early on I felt like all of us have been overpassing, making an attempt to make everyone snug,” Durant mentioned, “after which he simply bought into his mode of being aggressive to attain and that opened up the entire recreation for others.”
Harden had no apply time with the Nets and positive did not want it, changing into the primary participant in franchise historical past to have a triple-double in his debut.
Durant made 5 3-pointers in his tenth recreation again following an 18-month layoff after rupturing his Achilles tendon within the 2019 NBA Finals. He hiked his common to 30.7 factors, which might be his highest since he scored a league-leading 32 per recreation and received NBA MVP honors for Oklahoma Metropolis in 2014.
That was a pair years after he and Harden helped lead the Thunder to the NBA Finals and their new pairing may have comparable potentialities. The Nets would possibly nonetheless attain one other stage once they get again Irving, who missed his sixth straight recreation after leaving the workforce final week for private causes.
“I feel it’s going to be an adjustment for everybody, however it’s an unbelievable drawback to have and one thing I feel we’ll relish making an attempt to decipher,” coach Steve Nash mentioned.
Nikola Vucevic had 34 factors, 10 rebounds and 7 assists for the short-handed Magic, who misplaced their fifth straight. They have been way more aggressive than the others, together with a 124-97 loss in Boston on Friday, however did not have sufficient solutions for Durant or Harden.
“I imply, they’re no matter, they’re, two of the 4, 5 finest offensive gamers on the planet,” coach Steve Clifford mentioned.
Harden did not rating till making a pair of free throws with 6.8 seconds left within the first quarter and did not make his first basket till a layup with 10:07 remaining within the half. However his playmaking was on monitor from the beginning, pushing up the ground to seek out teammates slightly than usually dribbling down the shot clock in Houston.
He bought his shot going throughout an 11-point third quarter, capping it with a deep 3-pointer simply earlier than the buzzer to present Brooklyn an 84-83 lead.
Magic: Clifford efficiently challenged a foul referred to as on the Magic with 8.6 seconds left and his workforce trailing by seven. He improved to five for five on coach’s challenges this season. … Terrence Ross scored 23 factors. Rookie Cole Anthony tied his season excessive with 16.
Nets: Durant has scored 25 or factors in 9 straight video games, setting a brand new franchise file. … Nash mentioned F/C Nicolas Claxton, who has been out all season with a proper knee damage, doubtless would not return till later within the first half of the season, in all probability in February.
CLOSING IN ON KYRIE?
Nash mentioned Irving was hopefully near returning, however mentioned no date has ben decided. He desires the purpose guard to have correct time to ramp up his actions accordingly following his layoff. He mentioned Irving has been understanding on is personal and will accomplish that with a bunch of gamers Sunday throughout a time without work.
Magic: Go to New York Knicks on Monday.
Nets: Host Milwaukee on Monday.
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