James Harden’s 25 factors, 17 assists lead shorthanded Nets previous Blazers, 116-112

Steve Nash wished his shorthanded staff to play scrappy and his gamers actually did.

With out Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, the Nets escaped Portland, defeating the Path Blazers, 116-112. With the win, the Nets prolong their highway successful streak to 9 in opposition to Western Convention groups. They enhance to 30-14 on the season and have now gained 16 of their final 18. They continue to be one recreation behind the 76ers within the East. Philly beat the Warriors in San Francisco Tuesday night time.

“I feel when any individual’s down, any individual’s out, we’re simply rising to the event. Subsequent man up, alternative for different guys, and we’re making it a collective effort too,” stated Joe Harris in regards to the shorthanded win.

Brooklyn weathered Portland’s three-point barrage properly within the win, holding the Path Blazers to 34.5 p.c (19-of-55) from deep, which he credited his gamers effort in that class postgame.

“It was loads higher than the ultimate three quarters. We struggled defensively within the first quarter. I believed we had been slightly undecisive, made too many errors – psychological errors. The final three quarters 25, 25 21 factors was superb. We saved telling them throughout the recreation ‘our protection is getting higher. Keep it up. Hold getting higher’ and so they did,” Nash stated postgame. “They did an ideal job. They battled. They fought. Our rebounding acquired higher and we acquired the stops.”

James Harden led the cost with a monstrous double-double of 25 factors and 17 assists to go together with seven rebounds in 40 minutes whereas coping with neck soreness. The 17 assists had been his most as a Internet and matched his season excessive. Whereas Harden displayed his ordinary greatness, the Nets acquired enormous boosts from their function gamers within the win.

Harden admitted he was “very near sitting out Tuesday’s recreation as he’s coping with neck soreness however trying forward, the Nets celebrity needs to play in opposition to the Utah Jazz Wednesday if he’s feeling good.

“Tomorrow after I get up, if I really feel like I can go, I’ll go,” Harden stated postgame. “It’s that straightforward.”

Nicolas Claxton continued his rising play as his chemistry with Harden retains enhancing. The second-year Internet completed with 16 factors and 9 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench whereas taking pictures 8-of-10 total as his inventory continues to rise.

“Nic was enormous. He’s such a flexible participant defensively along with his size, athleticism, and his mobility. He can guard just about 1-through-5 so yeah, he’s going to wrestle at occasions however a lot of that was popping out of rotations,” Nash stated. “He’s a risk offensively across the basket and he’s creating every single day. Happy with him. His defensive effort is excellent and really invaluable for us.”

Jeff Inexperienced gave the Nets an early increase, scoring 10 factors within the first, then hitting the 2 free throws that sealed the deal. The 34-year-old completed with 20 factors on 7-of-14 taking pictures.

Joe Harris had a robust efficiency as he blended his deadly 3-point taking pictures (3-of-6) along with his mid-range recreation, ending with 17 factors in 32 minutes. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot contributed a great punch off the bench, displaying his chopping skill and taking pictures. He completed with 11 factors in 27 minutes, his first taking part in time in eight video games.

As a staff, Brooklyn completed the win taking pictures 49.4 p.c from the sector and 30.0 p.c from deep.

The Path Blazers, who had been additionally shorthanded coping with accidents and get in touch with tracing, had been led by Damian Lillard, who completed with 22 factors in 38 minutes adopted by Enes Kanter, who embellished his Nets killer fame with 19 factors and 19 rebounds.

The shorthanded Nets confronted an early scare. Bruce Brown suffered a left eye poke and remained on the sidelines for the rest of the play and requested to be subbed out with 8:51 left within the first. Brown was changed by TLC who was the primary man off the bench and performed properly. TLC, who continued to play properly after not seeing rotation minutes, scored eight factors in 9 minutes off the bench. Nonetheless, with Brown on the bench, Portland jumped on a 7-0 run to increase their result in 5 however Brooklyn shortly responded and a high-scoring affair begun because the protection was non-obligatory.

Inexperienced had his pictures falling early as he went 4-of-5 total and 2-of-3 from deep in 10 minutes to steer Brooklyn in scoring after one with 10 factors. Regardless of Brooklyn taking pictures 61.9 p.c total, Portland had the sting heading into the second because the Path Blazers led 41-37.

The Nets opened up the second with that scrappy mentality Nash pressured his staff to have for the highway journey. Brooklyn battled on the boards and the grittiness was evident as Griffin, who took a cost within the first, adopted with a superman dive to save lots of a free ball to enrich their scorching taking pictures. The Nets took the lead with 6:35 remaining off a artful and-one from Harden. Brooklyn struggled to defend the arc as Portland not solely put up 29 threes however made 12 of them to finish the half taking pictures 41.4 p.c to shut the primary half however the Nets entered the locker room up 67-66.

Whereas Brooklyn’s offense was very efficient early, turnovers allowed Portland to maintain the sport inside one possession because the Path Blazers completed the primary half scoring 10 factors off turnovers and capitalizing off second-chance alternatives.

The 2 groups opened the third on a quiet be aware after a high-scoring second quarter. The tempo shortly rose halfway via the third as Portland picked aside the Nets protection as Brooklyn’s offense saved them inside attain on the again of Harden, who scored 18 within the interval. Griffin offered an enormous increase for Brooklyn, contributing 4 factors and off the field rating, he sacrificed his physique, taking a sequence of huge hits and setting refined screens.

Brooklyn concluded the third with a nifty alley-oop from Harden to Claxton, who scored 10 factors and eight rebounds within the quarter, because the Nets entered the ultimate 12 minutes holding a 92-91 lead, taking pictures 50.7 p.c total and 34.8 p.c from deep.

The Nets, behind the vitality and scoring from Claxton, added to their scoring run (15-6) to spice up their result in 100-91 within the opening minutes of the fourth. Portland’s parking zone taking pictures cobbled collectively a robust response with an 11-8 run as the sport got here right down to the ultimate seconds. After a few tight inbounds passes Inexperienced iced the sport with two free throws to push Brooklyn to the win.

The Movie Room

There’s loads to observe in awe throughout Brooklyn Nets. Uber environment friendly pick-and-roll units with a wide range of screeners of all sizes and styles. A swarming switching protection that’s generally… fairly good! LOADS of celebrity expertise. That’s fairly cool too.

However one of many extra underrated elements of what makes the Nets so nice from a viewing perspective is the staff’s ordinary quantity of instinctive cutters. Bruce Brown is the primary identify that ought to come to thoughts; he’s been nailing floaters off “45 cuts” from the wing throughout the lane all season lengthy.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is one other terrific off-ball mover. He’s particularly proficient at these baseline cuts, vacating the corners to jut to the basket for flashy under-the-rim finishes. The important thing to this possession is TLC shifting in sync with Harden’s actions, faking and reversing his approach to the basket proper as Harden touches his foot into the paint.

Even the celebrities, Kyrie Irving specifically, are prolific on this regard. It’s one of many simplicities that makes you grin ear-to-ear whereas watching the Nets at night time.

Steve Nash values Blake Griffin’s expertise, intelligence and hustle

In his second recreation as a Internet, Blake Griffin has caught the attention of his head coach,.. as soon as once more.

Griffin, who logged 19 minutes off the bench whereas tallying eight factors and 5 rebounds, is constant to make his greatest affect off-the-box rating.

The six-time All-Star displayed that scrappy mentality Nash values with a sequence of fees together with an prolonged dive on the ground for a save. Nash credited the Nets newest veteran for his hustle performs however in his eyes, Griffin’s greatest affect is felt along with his expertise and intelligence.

“Blake’s expertise and intelligence are actually necessary. He nonetheless has the power to play make, make threes, his rebounds, post-ups on smaller gamers. It’s not that he’s only a hustle participant now however he’s prepared to dive on the ground,” Nash stated. “He’s already taken a number of fees. That intelligence and expertise are including to our group as he continues to get extra familiarity with the group and the way in which we play. He’s going to be extra invaluable.”

Trying forward, Nash and the Nets will take a affected person method along with his minutes growing as he logged 4 further minutes in Tuesday’s win. The Nets’ major focus is to keep away from jeopardizing his long-term well being.

“Very, very gradual,” Nash stated. “I positively don’t need to get excited and over-tax him as we attempt to ramp him up. We acquired to recollect one recreation in principally a month so, he may play extra minutes however I don’t need to jeopardize his long-term well being.”

Claxton getting acknowledged

For the fourth straight recreation, Nicolas Claxton was on the ground as that buzzer sounded, however earlier than that, the close to 7-footer acquired loads of credit score, a few of it stunning from the NBA’s nationwide media. Right here’s a sampling.

Shortly after his huge efficiency, Clax shared his keys to success in opposition to among the finest and brightest backcourts the league has to supply.

“Portland was the primary recreation I performed final yr, so I keep in mind defending him. So I simply used what I knew from guarding him final yr,” stated Nicolas Claxton about guarding CJ McCollum. “And Dame? You simply gotta slide your toes and be prepared for no matter, truthfully. He’s acquired loads of completely different stuff in his bag getting downhill. Simply staying sound defensively, staying down on pump-fakes, and sticking to my precept. The end result will likely be on my aspect more often than not.”

It’s that straightforward! Wouldn’t or not it’s good to be 7 toes tall and freakishly athletic with an unteachable work ethic, hm?

Kevin Durant progressing however no timetable

Steve Nash was questioned about Kevin Durant’s standing previous to the tip-off of the ten PM recreation. He acknowledged the Nets’ greatest participant was not touring with the staff for the highway journey, a set of video games that includes the likes of Portland, Utah, and Detroit.

“Kevin stayed,” stated Nash. “Six-hour flight. Little or no health club time. Again-to-back. Getting in in the midst of the night time. On the finish of the day, we simply felt prefer it wouldn’t profit him to journey throughout the nation whereas he’s making an attempt to get that crucial final a part of his rehab performed.”

Even after the journey is accomplished, Nash didn’t decide to a timeline for KD’s return, although he appeared more than happy with Durant’s progress in his rehab.

“I feel it’s nonetheless up within the air,” stated Nash about Durant’s timeline. “He simply has to shut that kinda crucial final stage of his rehab. He’s understanding on the court docket just about every single day, appears to be like nice. Simply making an attempt to ensure that useful power is there and that he’s extra assured that he can re-enter taking part in safely. That’s the factor, proper? Kevin is doing very properly. If this was the playoffs, there’s an opportunity he’d be again very quickly. However there’s no level in taking an enormous threat with him when crucial factor is to get him again for the rest of the season.”

Can’t discover fault in that! This staff is constructing for one thing larger.

Landry Shamet may rejoin Nets in Detroit, coping with proper ankle sprain

Landry Shamet, who underwent a scan and imaging for his proper ankle sprain on Monday, didn’t play for the Nets tonight. Nash stated there’s a risk Shamet rejoins the staff for his or her third and remaining recreation of the highway journey however didn’t obtain an replace on the time of his pregame media session.

“I haven’t acquired the replace however there’s a risk he can be a part of us in Detroit,” Nash stated. “I haven’t acquired the replace although.”

Alize Johnson to affix Nets in Utah after being named second-team All-G League

Requested Tuesday night time when he would possibly meet the Nets latest participant, Alize Johnson, Steve Nash stated his understanding was that the 6’8” ahead could be becoming a member of the staff in Salt Lake Metropolis Wednesday.

Earlier within the day, Johnson, who led the G League in rebounding and effectivity, was named second staff All-G League. He’s on a 10-day contract.

What’s subsequent

The Nets will return again to motion Wednesday when the staff travels to Utah for the second recreation of a three-game highway journey to play the Utah Jazz. The sport is about to tip at 10:00 PM ET.

For a unique perspective, try Blazer’s Edge – our sister website protecting the Portland Path Blazers for SB Nation.

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