Last night, James Harden great debut helped the Nets take home the victory. In some aspects of his game, he looked even better than his earlier games in Houston. Harden finished with a stat line of 32 points on 8 for 18 (44.4%) shooting, 12 rebounds, and 14 assists.
Harden Great Nets Debut
Harden great Nets debut included his 47th triple double of his career, and he became the first NBA player to record a 30 point triple double in a team debut.
When Steve Nash was asked to describe his debut, he said, “Well, he stuffed the stat sheet, almost a quadruple-double. Obviously, James is a brilliant basketball player and we got to incorporate him. Find a way to make this thing gell, put him in a position to do what he does and for him to make each of our guys better. (…) He got to the line 15 times. He made three’s, 12 rebounds, 14 assists, four steals, and we know what he is. He is a world-class basketball player so we will continue to build, get better, try to figure this out where everyone is a threat, and make each other better.”
Even in Harden great Nets debut game, he did struggle from the 3-point line. A key observation is that Harden is very good at getting to the line, which is no surprise given he has led the league in FTM per game in seven different seasons. In his Nets debut, Harden shot 13-15 at the foul line.
Also, Harden seemed engaged at the defensive end, securing 11 defensive rebounds, four steals, and a block. It seems like the prospect of a championship with this talented Nets team has inspired him to try on both ends of the court. And for those who were concerned about his conditioning, Harden was able to play 40 minutes without showing too much fatigue.
A common criticism that Harden gets is that he looks for his own shot too much and he is not focused on moving the ball. In this game, he recorded 14 assists and there were plenty of other plays where he was making the right passes to increase the flow of the offense. The only negative to Harden’s willingness to share the ball was that he committed nine turnovers. This can be explained by Harden’s desire to quickly build chemistry with his teammates.
Unfortunately for Kevin Durant, Harden’s impressive debut takes away from his impressive night. Durant scored 42 points on 16 for 26 (61.5%) shooting. He is so fun to watch because he has the ability to take contested shots and still maintain his identity as an efficient scorer. Durant was also great from 3PT with five makes on eight attempts. Durant set a franchise record for the most consecutive games of 25+ points (9).
Durant commented on Harden’s performance against the Magic by affirming, “You can see him trying to find the best way to play. Early on, I felt like we all were trying to pass and make everyone comfortable than he just got in his mode of being aggressive to score. That opened up the whole game for all of us (…) Glad he got his feet up under him. He’s got to get plugging away and keep getting better each day.”
A fun fact about Durant and Harden is that they combined for 74 points last night, which was more than they ever combined for as teammates in Oklahoma City.
Now, the questions that Brooklyn Nets fans are wondering are where is Kyrie Irving, when will Irving retake the court, and how will the big three play when they all have to share the same basketball. Hopefully, Harden great Nets debut is a precursor to the big three dominance the rest of the NBA season.