The Brooklyn Nets have their first win of the Kevin Durant-James Harden-Kyrie Irving era. They’re likely hoping the next one will be a little more comfortable.
The Nets finished in the win column on Saturday for the first time with all three stars on the floor, defeating a short-handed Miami Heat team 128-124. For a while, the game looked like as one-sided as some expected with Brooklyn’s Big 3 all contributing, with the Nets taking an 18-point lead in the second quarter and leading by double digits into the fourth quarter.
The Heat, however, rallied back and nearly completed the comeback. The team got within one point of the Nets three different times, but couldn’t even the score. It was still a valiant effort from a team missing Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Avery Bradley and Meyers Leonard.
In their absence, Heat center Bam Adebayo led all scorers with 41 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds. The last Heat player to score that much? Dwyane Wade:
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 24, 2021
Another quiet night for James Harden
Durant and Irving were their usual selves, scoring 31 and 28 points respectively. Harden finished with only 12 points, however, his third straight game with 21 or fewer points. That stretch happens to coincide with Irving’s return to the team after his sabbatical.
Harden was only 2-of-8 from the field, and didn’t really make a field goal until the final minute of the game (his first field goal, midway through the fourth quarter, was scored as a goaltend). Instead of scoring like in his time with the Rockets, Harden was again deferential, tallying up 11 assists.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 24, 2021
Harden has now posted double-digit assists in all five of his games with the Nets. It was widely expected that one of the Brooklyn Big 3 would have to become more accommodating for the offense to work, and so far that has been the recent arrival.
The win gives the Nets a bounce-back after dropping two straight games to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they clearly still have plenty to work on, from interior defense to not doing what the NBA has explicitly requested its players not to do:
Heat security had to break up Kyrie and Bam Adebayo from hugging after the game. pic.twitter.com/8rViHGY2Et
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 24, 2021
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