NEW YORK – James Harden was in the bag Friday night, dribbling, creating space, draining 3s and letting everyone know he was starting to feel more like himself as he yelled out during a timeout while tying fists and bent arms.
Harden was also finally back in a place he knows well – the free throw line. After going to the line together 15 times in his first five games, the Harden went 16-of-19 from the streak, scoring a season-high 29 points left with eight assists and eight rebounds to help the Brooklyn Nets take a 105- 98 victory over Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center.
This was without comparison Harden’s best match of the season after getting off to a slow start and averaging 16.6 points on Friday.
“Of course it was not 30,” said Harden, who on Wednesday admitted that his body and game are not quite at the point where he can score 30 or 40 points a night. “I keep saying it – every single match I feel good, I feel better today, I continue to work on days off and non-match days, and on game days I continue to get to the basket and shoot my shots. .
“Nothing will change. Eventually things will happen where it’s consistent and I’m out there playing [like] Myself.”
Earlier this week, Nets coach Steve Nash said he felt Harden had unfairly become the “poster boy” for this season’s rule changes, with officials cracking down on “obvious, sudden or abnormal non-basketball moves” by ball handlers who seeks to make mistakes.
By Friday night, Harden had not gone to the line more than four times in a game this season. But against the Pacers, he went to the line nine times alone in the second quarter, scoring 13 points.
This was the 72nd game in his career in which Harden made at least 15 free throws, the most in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“It was just me who was aggressive,” Harden said. “The first few games I was not aggressive. I was aggressive in sprints, but just tried to be aggressive for four quarters. I had that burst, the speed to get to my places, whether I got to the basket or shot. shots. I had a pretty good time out there in a whole fight. “
While Harden scored 21 points in the first half, Kevin Durant had 18 of his 22 points at the break. Their 39 total points were the most they have scored as Nets teammates in the first half.
However, the Nets were lucky to have Durant available in the fourth quarter. After the game was stopped for a foul while Durant was driving, he shot the basketball into the stands with 4:40 left in the third quarter.
Crew chief Sean Wright told a pool reporter after the match that in real time, the referee who called did not believe the ball entered the stands with force.
“After watching the video after the game, we saw the ball go in the stands with force,” Wright said. “And Kevin Durant should have been kicked out.”
Durant said he tried to hit the back plate and should not have done so.
“I do not know, man. I thought I was alone in the gym and in a pickup match, not an NBA match,” Durant said of his passing. “And I can not do that. I could have cost my team the match. But it will not happen again – I hope so.”
Durant added: “I did not know you could be ostracized over it. I’m glad I stayed in the game. I’m sure there’s going to be a big fine, but I do not mind giving.”
LaMarcus Aldridge helped grab the Nets, scoring nine of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to help Brooklyn keep an annoying Pacers team away.
The 16-year-old veteran became the 48th player to reach 20,000 career points and just the seventh active player to do so, joining Harden and Durant. It was a milestone that Aldridge did not think he would reach after retiring in April due to an irregular heartbeat. He was medically approved to return this season.
“It feels good, man,” Aldridge said. “A true blessing. Certainly did not think it would happen after what happened last year. Stuck with it, fell back and certainly felt good about getting it done and being back out there. Just feel blessed.”