Durant hails Harden for triple-double on Nets debut


James Harden #13 high-fives Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half against the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center on January 16, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant described new teammate James Harden as “incredible” after the guard recorded a triple-double on his debut for the team in their 122-115 NBA victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.

Harden joined the Nets from the Houston Rockets on Thursday to reunite with Durant — his former teammate at Oklahoma City Thunder — and the duo looked dominant in their first game together with the Brooklyn team.

Durant scored a season-high 42 points while Harden, the NBA’s MVP in 2018, became the seventh player in NBA history to register a triple-double in his debut with a new team and finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists.

“It was incredible. You could see him trying to figure out the best way to play early on. I felt we all were over-passing, trying to make everybody comfortable,” Durant told reporters.

“Then he got into his mode, being aggressive to score. That opened up the whole game for all of us. Glad he got his feet up under him, he’s got to keep plugging away, keep getting better each day.”

Durant said he was impressed with Harden in the point guard role, with Kyrie Irving missing his sixth straight game due to personal reasons and health and safety protocols.

“James played the same way he always plays… the same way he was playing in Houston. Handling the ball, being a past-first guard, trying to get his guys good looks,” Durant said.

“Coach put him at the point… I think that’s his natural position. Point, combo guard. For him to come out and get 14 assists, 12 rebounds for us at the point guard was key.”


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