James Harden Takes Accountability After Nets Almost Blow Big Lead

James Harden

Getty James Harden absorbs contact during the Nets win over Minnesota.

The Minnesota Timberwolves had a five-game win streak rolling against the Nets heading into Monday’s matchup at the Barclays Center and it was nearly extended to six games.

James Harden’s big night was almost spoiled after the Timberwolves nearly erased a sixteen-point Nets lead.

Wolves’ rookie Anthony Edwards brought Minnesota to within one and had a chance to tie the game at the free-throw line in the waning moments of the fourth quarter. Fortunately for the Nets, Edwards missed the free throw and the Nets would never relinquish the lead.

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James Harden Holds Himself Accountable

This is the second straight game that the Nets have escaped more than they have won. Harden knows that Brooklyn must improve, and it starts with him.

“Man, I got to be better, especially down the stretch turning the ball over,” Harden said after the win.

Harden finished with 38 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists on the night but also had six turnovers. Harden made Net’s history as he registered his 12th triple-double since joining Brooklyn which ties Hall of Famer Jason Kidd as the most in a season in franchise history.

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Nets Got off To a Hot Start

Perhaps the signing of LaMarcus Aldridge and the emergence of rising star Nic Claxton has lit a fire in the belly of Nets’ center DeAndre Jordan who was an alley-oop machine to kick off the matchup with Minnesota. DJ scored the Nets’ first three field goals all off lobs from Harden and Kyrie Irving.

Kyrie returned to the Nets on Monday after missing all three games of the Nets’ short road trip. Irving was reportedly away from the team to be with his fiancée who is pregnant with their first child.

The 2021 All-Star starter certainly seemed refreshed as he had a hot start in the opening quarter scoring 16 points on 6-6 shooting from the field. The Nets as a team finished with 37 points in the opening period as they started the night shooting 13-16 from the field.

LaMarcus Aldridge Could Be a Starter

LaMarcus Aldridge is not expected to play this week as he will likely need a ramp-up period before taking the court for Brooklyn much like the newly acquired Blake Griffin. Aldridge’s last game was ironically against the Nets on March 1.

“We’ll see, he’s gotta ramp up. You know, he hasn’t played for a month. So gotta get his conditioning and ramp-up. So, I’d say he probably won’t play for 2, 3, 4 games,” Nets’ head coach Steve Nash told reporters via NetsDaily.

“We’ll see whatever that is. Not too long. He needs some time to develop his conditioning and then we’ll get him out there.”

When Aldridge does finally suit up, there is a possibility that he could earn himself a starting role on a Nets team that boasts an embarrassment of riches according to Nash.

“He definitely can compete to start but we’ll see how it plays out,” Nash said to reporters via NetsDaily.

“We got to get him up to speed with his conditioning, integrated with the team, comfortable with what we do and with his teammates. There’s plenty of time so he definitely can start.”

Aldridge put up decent numbers in his time with the San Antonio Spurs this season. In the 21 games he appeared in for San Antonio, Aldridge averaged 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game.

“For us, it’s more about that connectivity and finding that balance with different rotations, different lineups, different players feeling like they have an understanding together. That’s what we need to develop,” Nash said.

The Nets next game is against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

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