The injured Nets star Kevin Durant has been lacking since mid-February, however his staff 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 return out. That left the Nets in a severe bind in opposition to the Knicks at Barclays Middle, their Massive Three diminished 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 likewise led his staff with seven assists. Jeff Inexperienced added 23 factors, tying his season excessive, however was merely a supporting participant in Irving’s spectacular efficiency.
Irving’s ultimate 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, Inexperienced 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.
“That is the Brooklyn method, additionally blended with just a little Jersey swag,” Irving stated 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.)
“Similar to final time,” Nash said of Harden’s injury. “He has an consciousness of one thing’s not proper in his hammy. His scan was clear. His energy checks when he got here again to the locker room had been regular. It’s one thing the place now we have to guard him, now we have to belief him. Very irritating for James, however we are able to’t threat it, if we are able to afford to not.”
Nash held out hope that Monday was merely a quick delay in Harden’s restoration, and never one thing that might imperil the championship goals of the first-place Nets (35-16).
“Who is aware of?” Nash stated. This may increasingly 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 stated they had been hopeful he would return quickly. Durant, Harden and Irving have performed collectively solely seven occasions since becoming a member of the Nets, making it all of the extra outstanding that the staff leads the Japanese Convention.
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 Japanese Convention, on monitor for his or her first playoff look since 2012-13.