The Rundown: Harden back to work, leads Nets past Spurs

Published May 13, 2021, 3:00 PMChuck Araneta

James Harden came off the bench in his first game back for the Nets and dropped an 18-11 double-double.


Wizards 116, Hawks 120
Nets 126, Hawks 116
Cavaliers 102, Celtics 94
Mavericks 125, Pelicans 107
Trail Blazers 105, Jazz 98
Lakers 124, Rockets 122

What went down

In case you’re wondering, the Brooklyn Nets are terrifyingly good at basketball, even without James Harden.

Now that he’s back? Yikes.

Playing for the first time since April 5, Harden had 18 points and 11 assists in his return to the Nets lineup, helping Brooklyn defeat the San Antonio Spurs, 128-116.

Curiously, Harden came off the bench for the first time since his days with Oklahoma City. But according to Harden in the post-game interview, it was a scenario not unfamiliar to him. 

“That sixth-man role, I mastered that as well,'' Harden said. ''I got an award for that role. That role is easy. Come in and impact the game. Do whatever it takes to win, whether it's defensively or offensively. But that's my role no matter what, especially on this team.''

And that’s exactly what the return of Harden did. He made the game so much easier for the rest of Brooklyn’s squad. Landry Shamet scored 21 points while energetic big man Nic Claxton had a career-high 18 points. The Nets got a big win despite missing Kyrie Irving.

But even with Irving out, as long as Harden or Kevin Durant continue to lead the squad it’s impossible to count out Brooklyn. Especially with The Beard’s confidence at an all-time high. 

Big-time baller

Luka Magic was in full effect, as Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 125-107. Doncic had 33 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in the big win. The loss also eliminated the Pelicans from Play-In Tournament contention. 

What he said

''Not to like brag or anything, but I'm like really, really good at this game.” — James Harden 
No lies detected here.

Did you see that?

No AD and LeBron? No problem. The Los Angeles Lakers found a way to persevere and hack out a big win against the Houston Rockets, 124-122. Kyle Kuzma hit the biggest shot of the game as he isolated from the top of the key and hit a tough go-ahead layup.