NEW YORK (AP) — James Harden would possibly quickly be in Brooklyn and Kyrie Irving may quickly be again, giving the Nets a doubtlessly tantalizing trio.
Kevin Durant’s focus was on one thing else Wednesday.
“We actually needed this recreation tonight and all people performed like that,” Durant mentioned.
Particularly the solo celebrity poised to quickly be fronting a model new Large Three.
Durant scored 26 factors to guide the Nets — short-handed after agreeing to a commerce for Harden — to a 116-109 victory over the New York Knicks.
Durant was already scheduled to play on each nights of a back-to-back for the primary time since surgical procedure to restore his Achilles tendon. He perhaps needed to perform a little greater than deliberate after the Nets shook up their roster earlier within the day with a four-team blockbuster centered across the acquisition of Harden, the three-time NBA scoring champion.
Durant, who has gained 4 scoring titles, didn’t need to discuss Harden but, with the deal nonetheless not accredited by the NBA.
With Irving lacking a fifth straight recreation for private causes, the Nets had solely 9 gamers. The 4 who’re to be included within the commerce, confirmed by an individual with information of the scenario, weren’t at Madison Sq. Backyard.
The Nets misplaced some good ones — Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince have all been starters and performed vital roles — however nonetheless had been loads adequate and may be even higher if the Durant-Harden-Irving tandem works out.
“However tonight we needed to give attention to the duty at hand and that was getting the ‘W’ tonight,” mentioned Nets ahead Jeff Inexperienced, a teammate of Harden’s in Houston final season.
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Joe Harris and Bruce Brown every added 15 factors for the Nets, who broke open the sport with a 15-2 burst to shut the primary half.
Julius Randle scored 30 factors and RJ Barrett had 20 for the Knicks, who dropped their fourth straight however at the least rediscovered some offense after being held beneath 90 factors within the earlier three.
“I’m trying ahead to the subsequent recreation. We’re simply attempting to get again on observe,” mentioned rookie guard Immanuel Quickley, who scored 19 factors.
Brooklyn’s lead was simply 46-43 with about four half minutes remaining within the half earlier than Durant threw a lob that DeAndre Jordan slammed down whereas getting fouled. Durant adopted with a 3-pointer and the 2 had consecutive dunks for the final two baskets of the half because the Nets opened a 61-45 lead.
The lead was nonetheless 16 after three earlier than the Knicks made it seem shut within the ultimate minutes, principally whereas Durant was on the bench.
Durant went over 20 factors in his franchise-record ninth straight recreation to start a season, his first recreation at Madison Sq. Backyard since he and Irving joined the Nets in July 2019 whereas a Knicks group that had sufficient cash to afford two superstars couldn’t land any. Irving nonetheless hasn’t performed throughout city as a Web, lacking one recreation final season whereas injured and sitting out the second on the day Kobe Bryant died.
Nets: Coach Steve Nash mentioned he had no new particulars on Irving’s absence. … The Nets performed simply their fourth street recreation. They got here in tied with Houston for fewest within the league. … Durant improved to 17-Three in his profession in opposition to the Knicks.
Knicks: Rookie ahead Obi Toppin performed a minute, his first motion for the reason that season opener. The school participant of the yr final season had been out with a strained proper calf. … F Taj Gibson, who signed final week, didn’t play within the first recreation he was obtainable. … Barrett is Nash’s godson.
Nets: Host the Orlando Magic on Saturday.
Knicks: Go to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.
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