The Brooklyn Nets answered a lot of questions in their 124-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.
Coming into the outing, much was made about the fact that ever since Brooklyn acquired James Harden the team had become the NBA’s best unit on offense and worst one on defense. Obviously that is not a recipe for championship success, as Damian Lillard noted, so many wondered how they’d ultimately fare against top-tier competition.
That question was answered when the Nets took down one of the top teams in the Western Conference and a top-two favorite to win the title this year.
One play that really showcased why acquiring Harden was worth it for Brooklyn regardless of what they had to give up and despite any defensive deficiencies that accompany him came at the end of the Clippers game.
With 7.1 seconds remaining and his team up 120-118, Harden had to simultaneously both inbounds the ball and do so in a manner that wouldn’t lead to an immediate foul. LA pressured the ball, but Harden somehow spotted an opening and delivered a crisp pass down the court where there were no well-positioned Clippers defenders. Just like that – an easy bucket and a foul ensued.
TOUCHDOWN, HARDEN! What. a pass from the Beard for the three point play 👀pic.twitter.com/z9qTiqK4gY
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) February 3, 2021
KD, Harden and Kyrie all came up big in Brooklyn’s win over the Clippers 👏 pic.twitter.com/SLiPTDBw0L
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 3, 2021
Obviously Harden comes with some headaches. There’s a reason why NBA teams had to hire a private investigator for him. But when he’s on his game and focused, he is one of the greatest shooting guards to ever play the game.
If the Nets can even sort of get it together on defense over the next couple of months, which they should be able to given the sheer talent on the roster, they will be scary come the playoffs.
Courtside Karen has a message for LeBron’s wife. https://t.co/6gZYiQYVOb
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 2, 2021