The bad news for the Brooklyn Nets is that Kyrie Irving is still nowhere to be seen. The good news? James Harden, one of the most dangerous scorers in the game, is starting to look like himself again.
In a Friday game against the Indiana Pacers, Harden and Kevin Durant combined for 51 points to push the Nets to victory. Brooklyn opened up the game trailing by as many as 16 points, courtesy of Chris Duarte (19 PTS) and Torrey Craig (28 PTS).
LaMarcus Aldridge was huge for Brooklyn, scoring 21 points off the bench. The veteran also cracked 20,000 career points in the process. However, once the Nets began showing their presence in the interior, everything started clicking. The team was relentless getting to the free throw line, ending the game with 41 free throws, and Brooklyn outrebounded Indiana 50-46.
Here are the player grades from Friday’s win:
James Harden: A
James Harden (29 PTS, 8 ASTS, 8 REBS) flirted with a triple-double against the Indiana Pacers. He got to the stripe to shoot 19 times and he capitalized by knocking down 16 free throws. Harden also made sure to be active defensively, blocking two shots in the game.
Although Harden turned over the ball four times, his 29 points and eight assists put too much pressure on the Pacers’ defense. There is no way the Nets win this game without the 32-year-old playing this aggressive.
Kevin Durant: B
Kevin Durant went for a double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. The two-time champion was even able to do on 7-of-10 accuracy from the field.
Taking care of the ball and knocking down free throws is going to be a priority for Durant heading into next game. The 33-year-old is too good of a player to be missing a free throw, going 7-of-8 from the line overall, and turning the ball over seven times. Seven turnovers is just outrageous.
LaMarcus Aldridge: A+
The veteran got busy on Friday. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 21 points off the bench and went 10-of-16 from the field. His third quarter outburst should be credited more though considering he scored eight straight points in the period alone.
Adding on eight rebounds to his tallies against the Pacers just made his performance look flawless. Though, making history and being one of the few players to notch 20,000 career points of course makes this game a perfect A+ for Aldridge.
Bruce Brown: B+
Bruce Brown played some huge minutes for the Nets in the win. Brown constantly made himself an option off of pick and rolls with James Harden by finding open areas on the floor and timing his roll right. As usual, the Boston native’s defense was brilliant.
However, Brown should try to at least attempt one three every game. The 25-year-old has been working on that shot all summer long and to not test it out at least once this game is absurd.
Joe Harris: C
Yes, Joe Harris made history last game against the Miami Heat becoming the franchise leader in threes made. And yes, Joe Harris had a scary collision with Blake Griffin in the third quarter where coach Steve Nash was forced to call timeout when both players went down. However, going 1-of-6 from downtown is never going to cut it. This is the best catch and shooter on the team and one of the best in the world, there’s just absolutely no way.
Blake Griffin: B-
The thing with Blake Griffin is that he can not find his rhythm from three yet. Griffin went 0-of-4 from behind the arc versus Indiana and defenses are starting to not respect the veteran when he spots up from there.
Fortunately for the veteran, his presence on the court is felt everywhere else but the perimeter on offense. Griffin played hard defensively all game, he made sure to get to loose 50/50 balls and overall gave Nets head coach Steve Nash some good run.
Source: Yahoo Sports