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The Rundown: Harden, Nets take down Trail Blazers

March 24, 2021, 3:00 PM ● Chuck Araneta

The Brooklyn Nets powered past the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, behind James Harden's superb playmaking.

Scoreboard

  • Nuggets 110, Magic 99
  • Knicks 131, Wizards 113
  • Lakers 110, Heat 100
  • 76ers 108, Warriors 98
  • Nets 116, Trail Blazers 112

What went down

This is the statline Brooklyn Nets star James Harden ended with today: 25 points, 7-of-24 field goals, 0-7 3-pointers made.

His Big 3 teammates Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant? Both were unavailable. 

With Harden struggling badly from the field, the Nets had no business being in the game against the Portland Trail Blazers, one of the best squads in the Western Conference. However, Brooklyn was still ahead in the final two minutes of the game, clinging to a three-point lead that they never relinquished. 

You can credit that to the non-star Nets, who carried Harden and hit all the big shots when he was unable to. Tyler Johnson and Joe Harris each hit pull-up jumpers to keep the Blazers at bay, and Jeff Green sank two clutch free throws to give the Nets a four-point cushion, enough to secure an impressive win.

Green finished with 20 points, while Harris tallied 17. Nic Claxton, the Nets’ promising youngster in the middle, held his own against Enes Kanter to finish with 16 points and nine rebounds. Harden more than made up for his struggles from the field, though, registering 17 assists, tying his career-high. 

 

The Nets have looked like they’re ready to go on a deep playoff run, as long as Irving, Durant and Harden are healthy. If their supporting cast is locked and loaded, how can the rest of the NBA hope to contain this squad?

Big-time baller

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram torched his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, with 36 points on 4-6 triples, three rebounds, and four assists. More importantly, the Pelicans feasted on the hapless undermanned Lakers for a 128-111 win to improve to a 19-24 record, good for 11th place in the West. 

 

What he said

“We’re playing this game with a heavy heart. Obviously Elgin was one of the greatest Lakers of all time, one of the best players in the NBA of all time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” — Lakers coach Frank Vogel on the passing of legend Elgin Baylor. 

Did you see that?

The ball-handling, footwork, and soft touch. Everything was on full display for Ben Simmons when he made this sweet move against the Golden State Warriors.

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