Nets, Missing Two Stars, Get 40 Points From Their Third

The injured Nets star Kevin Durant has been lacking since mid-February, however his crew bought some excellent news on Monday with the return of James Harden, who had missed Brooklyn’s final two video games with a hamstring harm.

Harden’s return lasted 4 minutes.

When the harm flared up once more, he requested to come back out. That left the Nets in a severe bind towards the Knicks at Barclays Center, their Big Three decreased to a lonely one.

Step ahead, Kyrie Irving. The third member of the Nets’ star triumvirate poured in 40 factors with a mix of pace, energy and deep 3-pointers, because the Nets — short-handed as they’ve been for a lot of the season — beat the Knicks, 114-112.

Irving shot 15 of 28 from the sector, made 5 3-pointers and in addition led his crew with seven assists. Jeff Green added 23 factors, tying his season excessive, however was merely a supporting participant in Irving’s spectacular efficiency.

Irving’s closing basket was a long 3-pointer that prolonged the Nets’ result in 5 factors with a minute left.

After the Knicks rallied to tie the rating at 112-112, Green drew a foul with three seconds left and hit each free throws. Julius Randle, who had a triple-double for the Knicks, missed a driving jumper to tie it as time expired.

“This is the Brooklyn way, also mixed with a little Jersey swag,” Irving mentioned in an on-court interview after the sport, to the cheers of the pandemic-limited crowd of 1,700. He went to highschool in Elizabeth, N.J., earlier than spending his solely faculty season at Duke.

Harden had began the sport however requested out early after pulling up in entrance of the scorer’s desk and reaching for his hamstring. Coach Steve Nash shortly eliminated him.

His cameo ended with no level, bringing to an finish his 450-game streak of scoring in double digits. (LeBron James continues to steer that class with greater than 1,000.)

“Very similar to last time,” Nash said of Harden’s injury. “He has an awareness of something’s not right in his hammy. His scan was clean. His strength tests when he came back to the locker room were normal. It’s something where we have to protect him, we have to trust him. Very frustrating for James, but we can’t risk it, if we can afford not to.”

Nash held out hope that Monday was merely a short delay in Harden’s restoration, and never one thing that would imperil the championship goals of the first-place Nets (35-16).

“Who knows?” Nash mentioned. This might linger or it might be all be behind us, like we thought it was earlier than the sport.”

Harden stays a most respected participant candidate, scoring 25 factors a sport and main the league in assists (10.9 per sport) and minutes (37.1).

With a 3rd straight win over the Knicks, the Nets accomplished a season sweep of their rivals for the primary time since 2014-15.

Durant, who has his personal hamstring harm, shot round earlier than the sport, and the Nets mentioned they have been hopeful he would return quickly. Durant, Harden and Irving have performed collectively solely seven instances since becoming a member of the Nets, making it all of the extra exceptional that the crew leads the Eastern Conference.

Randle’s triple-double — 19 factors, 15 rebounds, 12 assists — was his fourth of the season. The Knicks are hanging on to the eighth spot within the Eastern Conference, on monitor for his or her first playoff look since 2012-13.

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