James Harden scored 32 points and a triple-double in his Brooklyn debut, Kevin Durant scored 42 points, a season-high, in his first game with his former teammate, and the Nets showed their mighty potential in the season. a 122-115 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday (AEDT).
Harden got 14 assists and 12 rebounds after being cleared for play earlier in the afternoon after all players in the successful business that brought him from Houston had completed their physical exams. Harden also had nine turnovers.
He didn’t have training time with the Nets and certainly didn’t need it, becoming the first player in franchise history to have a triple-double in his debut.
“These stats don’t mean anything, I’m just trying to do everything on the pitch in my ability to help the team win,” he said after the game. “I have to reduce my turnover.”
Durant scored five three points in his 10th game after an 18-month layoff following an Achilles tendon rupture in the 2019 NBA Finals. He increased his average to 30.7 points, which would be his highest since scoring 32 league-leading per game and winning NBA MVP honors for Oklahoma City in 2014.
It was a few years after he and Durant helped lead the Thunder to the NBA Finals and their new couple may have similar possibilities. The Nets could be even better when they reunite with Kyrie Irving, who missed his sixth straight game after leaving the team last week for personal reasons.
Nikola Vucevic had 34 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Magic, who lost his fifth in a row. They were much more competitive than the rest, including a 124-97 loss to Boston on Friday.
Harden didn’t score until he made a pair of free throws with 6.8 seconds left in the first quarter and didn’t make his first basket before a layup with 10:07 left in the half. But his game was on track from the start, pushing the ground to find teammates rather than often dribbling the shot clock in Houston.
He threw his shot in an 11-point third quarter, styling it with a deep three points just before the buzzer to give Brooklyn an 84-83 lead.
Magic: Steve Clifford was able to challenge a foul called on the Magic with 8.6 seconds left and his team trailing by seven. He’s gone to five for five on Coach’s challenges this season. … Terrence Ross scored 23 points.
Nets: Durant has scored 25 or more points in nine straight games, setting a new franchise record. … Coach Steve Nash has said that F / C Nicolas Claxton, who has been out all season with a right knee injury, will likely not return until later in the first half of the season, possibly in February.
CLOSE ON KYRIE?
Nash said Irving is hopefully set to return, but no date has been set. He wants the leader to have time to scale up his activities accordingly after his layoff. He said Irving worked alone and could do so with a group of players on Sunday on a day off.
Magic: Visit the New York Knicks Tuesday (AEDT).
Nets: Host Milwaukee Tuesday (AEDT).