Prior to the Nets 124-108 acquire above the Los Angeles Clippers, Nic Claxton described  the eventual return of Kyrie Irving as the “frightening hour.” After the way that James Harden performed on Monday, it is tough to think about how substantially scarier the Nets could get.
But Brooklyn left LA with a pair of crucial wins, the superior probability of Kevin Durant returning to the Nets’ lineup on Thursday, and a Harden who appears to have discovered his activity in a significant way just after an up-and-down get started to the time.
In his second recreation again from well being and security protocol, Harden ongoing the tear he was on all through Xmas Day, putting up 39 points, 15 assists, and eight rebounds against the Clippers on Monday.
The two game titles have been a significantly cry from the early time struggles for Harden, who entered the year coming off of a hamstring damage whilst he admittedly experienced a tricky time balancing scoring and becoming a playmaker.
All of that appears to be like a distant memory to Harden now.
“Yes, that’s more than with. Which is above with,” he mentioned.
No 1 is likely to question that just after the way the lone member of the Nets “Major 3” has played, in particular on Monday when he place up a period-substantial in details. The 9-time NBA All-Star drove to the basket and opened up the offense for his teammates with his good ball motion.
“I consider he’s set a ton of stress on the protection,” Nets head coach Steve Nash stated. “I really don’t sit at household pondering like he’s acquired to rating or help or he’s acquired to do this or that. He’s just acquired to be aggressive. Attempt to assault, set force on the protection, whether it’s hockey assists or just usually takes a double-staff and moves it, whether he scores or gets fouled or throws a lob.
“It is definitely just about the mentality of getting aggressive and to make the correct participate in. And that’s, I imagine, what we see from him at his very best.”
Harden’s potential to come back again into the lineup at such a peak degree failed to shock him. Harden was in a position to work out throughout protocol due to the fact he experienced weights and devices to use whilst at residence.
He also felt as if he was setting up to find his variety prior to COVID forced him off the court docket.
“I was sort of commencing to experience very good just before [COVID protocol],” Harden said. “My entire body started off to sense really fantastic. That protocol or COVID or rest or regardless of what you want to contact it could have long gone a single of two techniques. I just locked in on my entire body, my eating, and when I was in a position to start doing work out, my exercise sessions.”
With Harden back again in type and reinforcements on the way, the East-primary Nets seem to be a pressure that will be tough for opposing groups to stop.
Harden’s MVP-esque effectiveness arrived with out Durant in the lineup on Monday, but that could not be the situation appear Thursday at residence against the Philadelphia 76ers. Nash stated there was a “excellent possibility” that Durant could be out of COVID protocol when the group returned to New York.
LaMarcus Aldridge is also expected to apparent protocol this 7 days and rejoin the staff.
When equally players do return to the courtroom it will be to a self-assured Nets squad that has gained 6 of its past 7 contests. Self esteem that Harden described as “by the roof.”
“Now just you insert KD, and Ky, and LaMarcus and Joe Harris, and that’s four of our ideal gamers,” Harden said. “4 of our top rated gamers that are out. Our assurance stage for our bench and guys that are examining in the video game is substantial. They can appear in the video game and impression the recreation in distinct methods. We can come across distinct approaches to win basketball games and that’s what it truly is about. It truly is not generally gonna be really, we’re not often gonna make shots, but defensively we can get immediately after it and lock groups down.”