The Brooklyn Nets came away with a narrow win against their cross-town rival New York Knicks to close out the month of November.
The margin of victory was so slim that it came down to a pair of last-second free throws from James Johnson, but it proved to be enough after Evan Fournier missed a half-court heave that would’ve won it for the Knicks.
A little into the second half, Nets star James Harden, somebody who has been stuck in a shooting slump for much of the year, did something that he’s never done in his career and that’s a putback dunk.
Usually, this is left for the big men like Blake Griffin back in the day, but Harden, who’s currently manning the point guard position, has shown he can get up there.
After he completed the putback slam, he let out a yell that everybody in the arena could hear, and after the game he was asked about it.
Harden Lets Loose
After the game, when everybody was cooled down, Harden was nothing but smiles when asked about his reaction to the dunk.
“It might’ve been the first one of my career, man, 13 years,” he said. “I had to let it out. It wasn’t that great when I looked at the highlight, but it felt great. That’s all that matters.”
He also went on to talk about the energy in the arena in the game against the Knicks, which actually set a Barclays Center crowd size record.
“The energy is always going to be there,” he said. “That’s one thing about this rivalry is that’s it’s always going to be there whether it’s here or at [Madison Square Garden]. The fans are going to cheer for their respective teams. It’s going to be a good game every time.”
Moving forward, we probably won’t be seeing very many Harden putbacks, but if this is the game that ends up breaking him out of his slump, then fans are going to be happy.
Something Harden has had trouble with this season is his shooting and getting to the line. Against the Knicks, he had trouble with neither one of those as he 11 of his 20 shots and also made it to the line 10 times.
It’s easily his best game of the season as he finished with 34 points to go along with 10 rebounds and eight assists. Most importantly, the Nets were able to win the game, and in a game where Durant was off in the first half, the Nets were able to stay competitive.
In the end, Durant had 27 points, so he did his part to chip in, but he shot just 9-23 for the game. It’s important that other players are able to step up when Durant has games like that, so it’s nice to see Harden show he can do that.
There’s still a lot of season left, but if Harden is able to piece together a string of games like this, then the Nets will be able to compete for the championship that many believe they can win.
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