Nine-time All-Star James Harden returned to the Toyota Center as a visitor for the first time in eight years on Wednesday. The 2018 Most Valuable Player did not disappoint as he finished with an unreal stat line of 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists as the Brooklyn Nets cruised to a 132-114 victory.
Although the Houston Rockets and Harden had an ugly divorce, that does not discount what he accomplished in his eight seasons with the franchise. To show their gratitude, the Rockets announced that they will retire Harden’s jersey.
“The Beard” gave his honest opinion on the Rockets’ gesture after Wednesday’s win.
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James Harden Reacts to Rockets Retiring His Jersey
“My reaction was, ‘Hopefully, I did something right.’ Obviously, I came up short of a championship. But the work on and off the court that I put in over those past eight years was elite,” Harden told reporters after the win via SNY.
“Obviously, I think that’s the only thing that I didn’t do or didn’t accomplish is the championship, which is difficult to attain. But as far as bringing excitement to the city, taking care of the fans on and off the court is something that I tried to contribute, so hopefully that outweighs that.”
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The NBA’s assist leader registered his eighth triple-double during Wednesday’s win, bolstering an already strong MVP case. The Nets trail the Philadelphia 76ers by a half-game for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets had a strong finish to an extremely turbulent first half of the season. The team has won 10 of their last 11 games and won seven straight games on the road. The 2021 All-Star spoke on what his experience with the Nets has been like and what the team needs to do in the second half of the season to keep the momentum going.
Harden Sounds off on the First Half of the Season
“Everything I signed up for. Top to bottom, it’s been great,” Harden said via Bleacher Report.
“We’re in a really good position, now we know each other a little bit better, and now it’s time to get some rest, take care of your body and then be ready to go. The second half is going to be huge for us.”
The Nets have proven they can compete with the best teams in the NBA, whether they are at full strength or not. The Clippers, Lakers, Suns, and 76ers have all fallen to the Nets in the first half of the season.
Joe Harris Knows Nets Can Be Better
As impressive as the Nets have been, forward Joe Harris knows that Brooklyn is just scratching the surface in terms of just how good they can be.
“I think I touched on that earlier just about how it’s one of those things where we just didn’t have a ton of time together early on. It wasn’t like James and a lot of the guys on the roster were here at the beginning of the season,” Harris said via NetsDaily.
“There’s been a lot of shakeup over the course of the season but we’re starting to get to a point where things are solidified and you’re starting to see it on the court as well where guys are kicking out for one another offensively, defensively feeding off one another feeling each other in terms of rhythm and predetermining what’s going on and a lot of that is the continuity. Just getting used to playing with one another and you’re starting to see that now.”
The Nets hope to be in full gear when they face the Boston Celtics to kick off the second half of the season on March 11.