NBA

Harden hails masterplan as red-hot Nets win fourth straight game, tie team records

By Sports Desk January 30, 2021

James Harden said the Brooklyn Nets made the most of "a beautiful game plan" as they swept to a 147-125 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Nine Nets players finished with double-digit points, led by Harden and Kyrie Irving with 25 each, as the team earned a fourth successive victory. 

Harden landed a triple-double, having also had 11 assists and 10 rebounds, and Stats Perform data showed it was only the second time in Nets history that they have had nine players score 10 points or more in a game. 

The first occasion was in the then New York Nets' 1984 game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and this time they matched a franchise points record for a regulation game. 

That the Nets achieved their success without the injured Kevin Durant showed the deep strength and potential they possess. 

"The ball was moving," said Harden. "We were active on both ends of the floor. 

"Coaches drew up a beautiful game plan, and we executed on both ends of the ball. We like to see carryover, and these last few games we’ve been carrying over, we've been playing well, especially on the defensive end, and it's showing, so we've just got to keep it up."

The Nets improved to 13-8 for the season, with the combination of Irving and new arrival Harden, acquired this month from the Houston Rockets, beginning to purr. 

"I never say how long the process was going to take. But Ky is special," Harden said. "He got it going in the third quarter. And we just wanted him to keep going until he missed, and even when he missed keep going again." 

Irving got 12 points in that particular quarter and the Nets entered the fourth armed with a 21-point lead. 

"We've just got to find that balance of when to be aggressive and when to make plays," Harden said. "And I think even with our aggressiveness, we're still playmakers. 

"I think over the course of the game, we did a really good job of getting our guys involved in going aggressiveness, corner ball as well. So nothing really changes even when KD [Durant] is in the lineup as well." 

Irving, meanwhile, knows the Nets could, and perhaps should, achieve great things now that he, Durant and Harden are in their ranks, but that is not to say success is a given. 

"Just taking it day by day," said Irving. 

"I'm always going to say that I won't take anything for granted. It doesn't happen often in history where you have this group together at this point. 

"Some of the guys were starters last year on their respective teams, other guys are MVP candidates and to have all of that collective talent and not get the most out of it, we'd be doing ourselves a disservice so we just want to continue to just push each other and hold each other accountable."

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    Ones to watch

    Andrew Kellaway scored Australia's only try in last week's win over the world champions.

    The wing is the joint-leading try-scorer in the tournament with three, alongside David Havili and Malcolm Marx. 

    With Lood de Jager absent due to concussion, Orie takes over at lock for South Africa.

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    ARGENTINA V NEW ZEALAND

    Form

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    Ones to watch

    The versatile Damian McKenzie gets the chance to start a second Test at fly-half for the All Blacks.

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    Pumas captain Julian Montoya won three turnovers in the defeat to the All Blacks last weekend and his tally of four is twice as many as any other player in the tournament.

    Montoya has not missed any of his 40 tackles in the competition.

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