Durant, Nets win while short-handed with Harden deal pending

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) drives to the basket against New York Knicks guards Austin Rivers (8) and RJ Barrett (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP)

    Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) drives to the basket against New York Knicks guards Austin Rivers (8) and RJ Barrett (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP) Associated Press

  • Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan (6) dunks against New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30), center Mitchell Robinson (23) and guard Elfrid Payton during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP)

    Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan (6) dunks against New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30), center Mitchell Robinson (23) and guard Elfrid Payton during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP) Associated Press

  • New York Knicks center Nerlens Noel (3) looks to pass the ball while defended by Brooklyn Nets forwards Jeff Green (8) and Reggie Perry (14) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP)

    New York Knicks center Nerlens Noel (3) looks to pass the ball while defended by Brooklyn Nets forwards Jeff Green (8) and Reggie Perry (14) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP) Associated Press

  • Brooklyn Nets forwards Jeff Green (8) and forward Reggie Perry (14) and guard Bruce Brown (1) fight for a rebound against New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and guard Elfrid Payton (6) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP)

    Brooklyn Nets forwards Jeff Green (8) and forward Reggie Perry (14) and guard Bruce Brown (1) fight for a rebound against New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and guard Elfrid Payton (6) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP) Associated Press

  • New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) looks to pass the ball while defended by Brooklyn Nets forward Jeff Green (8) and guard Bruce Brown, right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP)

    New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) looks to pass the ball while defended by Brooklyn Nets forward Jeff Green (8) and guard Bruce Brown, right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP) Associated Press

  • Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) dribbles the ball as New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and center Mitchell Robinson (23) defend during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP)

    Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) dribbles the ball as New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and center Mitchell Robinson (23) defend during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP) Associated Press

 
 
Posted1/14/2021 7:00 AM

NEW YORK -- James Harden might soon be in Brooklyn and Kyrie Irving could soon be back, giving the Nets a potentially tantalizing trio.

Kevin Durant's focus was on something else Wednesday.

 

"We really wanted this game tonight and everybody played like that," Durant said.

Especially the solo superstar poised to soon be fronting a brand new Big Three.

Durant scored 26 points to lead the Nets - short-handed after agreeing to a trade for Harden - to a 116-109 victory over the New York Knicks.

Durant was already scheduled to play on both nights of a back-to-back for the first time since surgery to repair his Achilles tendon. He maybe had to do a little more than planned after the Nets shook up their roster earlier in the day with a four-team blockbuster centered around the acquisition of Harden, the three-time NBA scoring champion.

Durant, who has won four scoring titles, didn't want to talk about Harden yet, with the deal still not approved by the NBA.

With Irving missing a fifth straight game for personal reasons, the Nets had only nine players. The four who are to be included in the trade, confirmed by a person with knowledge of the situation, were not at Madison Square Garden.

The Nets lost some good ones - Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince have all been starters and played important roles - but still were plenty good enough and might be even better if the Durant-Harden-Irving tandem works out.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

'But tonight we had to focus on the task at hand and that was getting the 'W' tonight,' said Nets forward Jeff Green, a teammate of Harden's in Houston last season.

Joe Harris and Bruce Brown each added 15 points for the Nets, who broke open the game with a 15-2 burst to close the first half.

Julius Randle scored 30 points and RJ Barrett had 20 for the Knicks, who dropped their fourth straight but at least rediscovered some offense after being held below 90 points in the previous three.

'I'm looking forward to the next game. We're just trying to get back on track,' said rookie guard Immanuel Quickley, who scored 19 points.

Brooklyn's lead was just 46-43 with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the half before Durant threw a lob that DeAndre Jordan slammed down while getting fouled. Durant followed with a 3-pointer and the two had consecutive dunks for the last two baskets of the half as the Nets opened a 61-45 lead.

The lead was still 16 after three before the Knicks made it appear close in the final minutes, mostly while Durant was on the bench.

Durant went over 20 points in his franchise-record ninth straight game to begin a season, his first game at Madison Square Garden since he and Irving joined the Nets in July 2019 while a Knicks team that had enough money to afford two superstars couldn't land any. Irving still hasn't played across town as a Net, missing one game last season while injured and sitting out the second on the day Kobe Bryant died.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

TIP-INS

Nets: Coach Steve Nash said he had no new details on Irving's absence. ... The Nets played just their fourth road game. They came in tied with Houston for fewest in the league. ... Durant improved to 17-3 in his career against the Knicks.

Knicks: Rookie forward Obi Toppin played a minute, his first action since the season opener. The college player of the year last season had been out with a strained right calf. ... F Taj Gibson, who signed last week, didn't play in the first game he was available. ... Barrett is Nash's godson.

UP NEXT

Nets: Host the Orlando Magic on Saturday.

Knicks: Visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.