The undermanned Brooklyn Nets pulled out an impressive 116-112 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
The Nets were without both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant when they took on MVP-candidate Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers which meant that the rest of the team had to lock in and step up to the plate.
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James Harden & Enes Kanter Nearly Come to Blows
Beating the Blazers was no easy task as the Nets had to scratch and claw for their victory both literally and figuratively.
Things got chippy between Nets’ star James Harden and Blazers big man Enes Kanter in the final minutes of the fourth quarter while the two were boxing out for a potential rebound.
Nets Reserves Came up Big in Victory
Recently acquired All-Star Blake Griffin registered his first three-pointer as a Net on Tuesday. It is another first for the six-time All-Star as he dunked for the first time since 2019 during his debut against the Washington Wizards on Sunday night. Griffin finished with a stat line of 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Nets’ guard Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot who has struggled for the Nets as of late had a strong start to the game against Portland. TLC contributed 8 points in the first 8 minutes of the first quarter. The Nets as a team got off to a scorching start as they netted 41 points in the opening quarter led by veteran forward Jeff Green who led all Nets scorers with 10 first-quarter points.
Harden has previously spoken on the importance of the Nets continuing to have a next man up mentality.
“It’s been like that all year. Guys in and out of lineups. I just kept preaching to the guys before the game that it’s the next man up and whoever has an opportunity to touch that floor be ready to go,” Harden told reporters per SNY.
“Know your assignments, know what you’re supposed to be doing, and stay locked in detail-wise. We don’t make excuses like guys are in and out of lineups. Whoever is in the lineup, whoever is suiting up, be ready to go, be ready to perform, and do whatever it takes to help the team get the win. That’s the kind of mindset we’ve been in you know so nothing phases us at this point.”
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Harden Is Still Breaking Nets Records
Harden is continuing to build on what has already been one of the best seasons of his career. ‘The Beard’ tied his season-high in assists on Tuesday as he had 17 dimes to go along with 25 points and 6 rebounds. The last time Harden had 17 assists this season was also against Portland on December 26 while he was still a member of the Houston Rockets.
The Nets will still be without their All-Star guard Kyrie Irving for the next two games as he is tending to what the Nets are calling a family matter. Brooklyn who is still hoping to take over the top seed in the East from the Philadelphia 76ers will need a repeat of Tuesday’s performance to close out this short three-game road trip.