The Nets take out the roller

Another triple-double from Harden gives the Nets their seventh straight victory and sinks the Kings further into a tremendous crisis. Brooklyn borders on the leadership of the East.


The face and the cross. This is what has been seen tonight in Brooklyn, two polar opposites in terms of streak and aspirations, in terms of the record and the confidence they exude. The Nets, in another James Harden display, have achieved their seventh consecutive victory, something they did for the first time all season; and the Kings, who are not at all like their rivals, sink with the eighth loss in a row ... something they are also making their debut in this season. Two teams that began as an attraction for the fan, who has clearly stayed with the New Yorkers to reject, for the umpteenth year, Sacramento, that ungainly franchise that has not reached the playoffs since 2006. A time now distant and difficult to remember for the fan, that of a project that touched the Finals in 2002 and was a continuous contender until 2004, but which never managed to win a seventh game and left a legacy consisting of formidable basketball and the last (and almost unique, at least since who left Kansas in 1985) and a distant memory that has never been repeated. You already know, a project that brought together Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Pedja Stojakovic, Doug Christie and company. Also to Rick Adelman and the talented point guard Mike Bibby, the last to abandon a ship that, of course, ended up sinking. Since then, 14 seasons without playoffs that will be 15, the worst streak in the entire NBA. And, worse, no sense of optimism for the future. In other words: an embarrassment.

And while the Kings just remember their history, the Nets try to write their own. With a dream team, they have pulled James Harden (too much) and Kyrie Irving on this streak, with Kevin Durant in dry dock solving little worrisome physical problems and getting ready to emerge as he usually does. The only question that remains is how they will blend in when the three players are on the court for more consecutive games; So far and in total, they have only done it in seven, the last of them against the Warriors, the only one in this streak in which the big three have performed their functions in full. And another thing to keep in mind, at least, until we see the full version of the franchise, is that Harden is playing better without Durant than with him: In the first variant, the Nets are going 6-3; in the second, they stay 5-5. Although, yes (there is always a good part), they have won four of the last five games in which they have coincided, and the only loss has been in that round trip of Durant against the Raptors because of the coronavirus and its tiresome, yet necessary, protocols.

Between data and data, Harden returned to display ... and leave more data. He went to 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists, with an excellent 5 of 10 on triples. And he is, at this point and with only 19 games played for the Nets, the second player with the most triple-doubles in the history of the franchise, behind a Jason Kidd who went to 61 (in 506 games, of course ). Harden played almost 41 minutes and finished with a +11 on the track, in line with a more discreet Kyrie in the statistics (21 + 5 + 7 + 3), but that went to +17. Of course, the hero was Bruce Brown, a strong forward, with a solid lower body and great defensive skills who emerged as an offensive surprise and went to 29 points, with a spectacular 11 of 13 in shooting from the field and 13 points in the last fourth, in which he scored his only two triples of the game. Starting while Durant continues to watch the games with a mask and expensive clothes, Brown added 4 rebounds and 2 assists to his statistic, and finished with a +20 while leading the best set of the game for the locals, the one that tipped the balance (29-22 in the last period), accompanied by an increasingly growing defensive version in the franchise and that caused that, in the last 12 minutes, the Kings shot with 35% in field goals and only caught half of the rebounds than their rival (8 by 16), in addition to staying at only 22 points and losing a game to which they arrived alive (98-96) to the last quarter.

The Kings did not play bad at all, but they rowed, again, to stay on shore. In their streak, they have not lost any of their eight games by more than 14 points, and in four of them the difference has been less than 10. They always sink at the end, with a losing streak in shooting and a lack of resources. and increasingly obvious slate of his coach, Luke Walton, who has been on the tightrope almost since he arrived in Sacramento and, if we look back, since he arrived on the NBA benches, with the Lakers in 2016. And He has never managed to demonstrate the qualities that were presupposed, while a phrase that is already inherent in his person accompanies him: he is not responsible for the ills of his teams, but neither is he the solution. Against the Nets, De'Aaron Fox was the leading scorer with 27 points and up to six players surpassed the ten, with special mention for Tyrese Haliburton's 23 and Richaun Holmes' 18 + 11. But no one emerged in the end to confront the mighty New York, which is only half a victory away from first place in the Eastern Conference, held by the Sixers, and remains a roller that leaves a string of corpses in its wake. And that, by the way, has his big three above 25 points per game on average, something that if it ended like that, would happen for the first time in history. Well that.

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