NEW YORK – Five games into his tenure with the Brooklyn Nets, James Harden is starting to score his pass or Rubik’s Cube.
After scoring just 10 points through three quarters on Monday against the Miami Heat, Harden scored 10 points in the final quarter and finished with 20 points and eight assists in the Nets’ 98–85 win. Attempting to solve his role puzzle, Harden said, is the “best part” of his first few weeks in Brooklyn.
“I was in a role for eight years, controlling the ball, dominating the ball,” Harden said referring to his time in Houston with the Rockets. “It’s a different experience for me now, but it’s still great.”
Harden was coming off his lowest scoring performance in a calendar year. On Saturday, he had only 12 points in the team’s first two matches against the Heat, but the Nets found solitude in their facility. Coming into Monday’s game, Harden had finished with double-digit killers in every game played for Brooklyn.
Kevin Durant, who finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, said Hardik’s performance against Miami was the “perfect balance” of scoring and convenience. “Looks like he’s just transferred to a new school and he’s trying to figure out the syllabus,” Durant said. “And it’s going to take some time to figure out who your teammates are, what your rotations are in the game, when to be aggressive, when to score.”
He continued: “As a scorer and the focal point of your offense, sometimes the balance between score and pass – you got to figure it out each night.”
Steve Nash said he is confident that with more time to build chemistry and get in better shape, Harden will continue to maintain that balance.
“I’m lucky to be able to do more than just one thing on the basketball court,” Harden said. “So, it’s fun. As I said before, it’s a game within the game, you get a chance to pick and choose when to be aggressive, when to let your shooters go, when to let KD and Kyari go . “