July 31, 2021

Durant dazzles as Harden stars on Nets debut

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Kevin Durant scored a season-high 42 points and James Harden added a 32-point triple-double on his debut for the Brooklyn Nets, who recorded a 122-115 victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night in New York.

Durant shot 16-of-26 and set a franchise record by scoring at least 25 points for the ninth straight game, he surpassed 30 points for the fifth time this season as the Nets won their third straight game.

Harden shot 8 of 18 from the field and grabbed 12 rebounds while adding four steals and making 13 of 15 free throws in 40 minutes – his 14 assists broke the franchise record set by Kevin Porter in 1977 for assists in his debut with the team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Saturday night’s NBA results

Houston Rockets 91-103 San Antonio Spurs
Orlando Magic 115-122 Brooklyn Nets
Charlotte Hornets 113-116 Toronto Raptors
Detroit Pistons 120-100 Miami Heat
Philadelphia 76ers 104-106 Memphis Grizzlies
Atlanta Hawks @ Portland Trail Blazers

Joe Harris added 17 points for the Nets, who shot 53.8 per cent and hit 16 three-pointers in their sixth straight game without Kyrie Irving who missed out again due to personal reasons and health and safety protocols.

Nikola Vucevic scored a season-high 34 points for Orlando, which suffered a fifth straight defeat but played its most competitive game of their current run.

Terrence Ross added 23 and rookie Cole Anthony contributed 16 as Orlando shot 46.3 per cent while playing without Evan Fournier (back spasms) for the eighth straight game.

Harden hit five free throws, assisted on a layup by Landry Shamet for his 10th assist, and hit a three-pointer in the final 1:52 as the Nets held an 84-83 lead into the fourth quarter. The Nets took a 96-88 lead early in the fourth on a three-pointer by Harden but Orlando was within 100-98 on a jumper by Ross with 6:57 left.

Durant surpassed 40 points by hitting a three-pointer with 4:35 remaining to give Brooklyn a 110-104 lead.

Kevin Durant was the top scorer as the Brookyn marked James Harden's debut with a third successive victory
Image: Kevin Durant was the top scorer as Brooklyn marked James Harden’s debut with a third successive victory

Harden picked up his triple-double when he got the rebound of a missed jumper by Anthony with 3:10 remaining, and the Nets secured the win when Durant drove the lane and passed to Bruce Brown for a corner three-pointer with 1:37 remaining that pushed the lead to 117-107.

Harden had scored his first points as a Net by hitting two free throws with 6.8 seconds left as the Nets held a 29-26 through 12 minutes. Harden added six more points as the Nets held a 52-50 lead by halftime after Orlando ended the quarter on a 7-2 spurt.

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