With each game that passes, James Harden continues to push himself into the MVP conversation and tonight was no different as he powered the Nets to a 124-113 overtime win over the Spurs.
In 44 minutes, Harden poured in 30 points, 15 assists and 14 rebounds, while Kyrie Irving added 27 points, seven assists and six rebounds to give the Nets their first win in San Antonio in 19 years, ending a 17-game losing streak.
Six Spurs players scored in double figures on the night, led by 22 points and 11 assists from DeMar DeRozan as they nearly pulled off a late-game upset, setting up a chaotic finish at home.
A wild finish
The Nets held a 108-98 lead with 2:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, but let the Spurs back into the contest with some costly turnovers and missed shots.
San Antonio closed regulation on a 10-0 run, thanks to 3-pointers from Lonnie Walker IV and Patty Mills, before DeRozan's layup cut the deficit to just two points with 40.9 seconds to go.
Both Harden and Irving had a chance to ice the game in the final 30 seconds, both missing layups and as Irving's attempt bounced off the rim with 5.0 seconds left, Dejounte Murray pushed the ball down the floor and somehow got this deep jumper to go after hitting the deck in the dying seconds.
DJ SENDS IT TO OT AT THE BUZZER 🚨 pic.twitter.com/cWZzWdQlFk- San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 2, 2021
The Nets regrouped in overtime, scoring the first eight points in the extra session, with Harden and Irving combining for 11 of their 16 points to put thier 19-year hoodoo in San Antonio to rest.
"They're a very good team, they're a very disciplined team, they're going to make u beat them," Harden said post-game. "They don't beat themselves and we've known that for the last 20-30 years
"We did a very good job of just sticking with it and made some big plays...we just kept our composure and made some big-time shots in overtime."
Make that seven triple-doubles in a Nets uniform for James Harden.
Tonight's effort against the Spurs made Harden the first player in NBA history to record 30+ PTS, 10+ REB, 15+ AST with zero turnovers in a game since individual turnovers first were tracked in 1977-78.
Players with 30+ points, 15+ assists, 0 turnovers in a game since 1985:- StatMuse (@statmuse) March 2, 2021
- LeBron James
- Chris Paul
- John Stockton
- James Harden tonight
He's the only player to also record a triple-double in the game. pic.twitter.com/CH4C6iU8dm
The 31-year-old's ability to balance his playmaking and scoring duties was on full display in San Antonio as he had the Nets' offence humming to start the game, registering 17 assists on their first 20 baskets - Harden was responsible for 10 of them.
With the scores locked at 81 apiece heading into the fourth quarter, Harden went into scoring mode, dropping 19 of his 30 points in the final frame and overtime.
"Honestly, I just try to find ways to impact the game and not just scoring the basketball," Harden said. "We have a number of guys that can put the ball in the basket. Just being a distributor of getting guys shots, getting guys easy buckets.
"I feel like it's my job. Just playing the game right way, not forcing anything, trying to make the right play, trying to get guys shots. That's kind of my mindset every single game and it's been working."
The Nets finished with a season-high 35 assists on 47 made field goals.
Harden OT GLASS#NETSonYES LIVE https://t.co/F1dxTHtUWq pic.twitter.com/BeVIZfjEpx- YES Network (@YESNetwork) March 2, 2021
Harden now has five games of 30+ PTS, 10+ AST and 5+ REB, the second-most in Nets franchise history. Jason Kidd owns the record with seven, coming in 506 games.
It's taken Harden just 22 games.
The Nets', who have now won six-straight games on the road, will look to close out their road trip n Wednesday (ET) when they travel to Houston to take on Harden's former team, the Rockets, who are currently on a 12-game losing streak.
Meanwhile, the Spurs will host the in-form New York Knicks on Wednesday (ET.)
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