Nobody was quite sure how this was going to go down. Considering the Nets packaged their future and bench for this trade to work, fans were going to have high expectations. In James Harden’s Nets debut, he dazzled and lived up to superstar expectations. He became the first NBA player to ever have a 30-point triple-double in his team’s debut. With two superstar efforts, the Nets were able to put away the Orlando Magic 122-115.
The main headlines for James Harden’s Nets debut
Harden finished the game with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 14 assists. He played 40 minutes, shot 8-of-18 from the field, including 3-of-10 from three-point range. It looked like the vintage version of Harden from his days in Houston before he grew tired of playing for that city.
Durant shines in James Harden’s Nets debut
- Just because Harden had a triple-double doesn’t mean that Kevin Durant was going to let him have all the fun.
- Durant led the team with 42 points on 16-of-26 shooting, including 5-of-8 from downtown.
- He also threw in four rebounds and five assists.
- Harden finished the game with nine turnovers, while Durant had six.
- It was their first game playing together since their days in Oklahoma City.
- After the game, Harden claimed he was “overpassing” to try and make everyone feel more comfortable.
- As he gets more acclimated to the team, the problem will likely take care of itself.
Bench looked average
- The new-look bench is going to need to step up now that Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen were both traded away.
- There were times that either former Nets starter could close out games.
- Instead, the Nets are going to rely on the combination of Reggie Perry, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarro, Landry Shamet, and Bruce Brown.
- Neither Chris Chiozza nor Tyler Johnson took the court once.
James Harden’s Nets debut analysis and commentary
This had a feeling during that game that this is going to work. In the end, this has to work. The Nets traded away four first-round picks for essentially two seasons of Kevin Durant and James Harden. There is no confirmation that either player will stay after next season. With that said, recording a triple-double in James Harden’s Nets debut is one positive step forward.
Joe Harris unchanged
The one player that could see a great change in his stats is Joe Harris. Harris is known as one of the league’s best spot-up shooters. With two different players, three if Kyrie Irving comes back, able to get into the lane and draw defenders, Harris is going to be left open a lot more this season. Harris had 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He could be a consistent 15-point scorer.
“Unselfish,” says Harden
Harden told the media that he is not selfish after the game. This was probably a good time to say it with his 14 assists. Many of his former teammates in Houston probably would disagree given the way that he left, calling the team “not good enough to win” after his final game.
The Nets will host the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday in what could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bucks are 9-4 and coming off a 112-109 win over the Dallas Mavericks.