James Harden shines as Nets down Pacers | Inquirer Sports
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James Harden shines as Nets down Pacers

/ 12:39 PM October 30, 2021
James Harden Brooklyn Nets

James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts against the Miami Heat during their game at Barclays Center on October 27, 2021 in New York City. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by AL BELLO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

James Harden totaled a season-high 29 points, eight assists and eight rebounds and the Brooklyn Nets overcame a sluggish start to record a 105-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night in New York.

Harden produced his most effective game this season two nights after admitting that he was still working his way back from a hamstring injury sustained in June during the playoffs.

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Harden, who entered averaging 16.6 points on 35.9 percent shooting, shot 5 of 11 and hit half of his 3-point attempts. He also sank 16 of 19 free throws after entering the game having taken 15 free throws through the first five games.

A 13-point second quarter from Harden helped the Nets erase a 16-point deficit. Harden later guided Brooklyn back from a slow start to the fourth.

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Harden returned with 8:44 remaining after consecutive hoops by Jeremy Lamb cut what was once a 14-point Brooklyn lead to 85-80.

The Pacers forged a 90-90 tie on a free throw by Domantas Sabonis with 5:15 left. Harden hit a tiebreaking layup with 4:56 remaining and assisted on LaMarcus Aldridge’s 15-footer for a 100-92 lead with 2:24 remaining. The star guard later connected with Aldridge on a dunk with 23.3 seconds left for a 105-97 advantage

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Kevin Durant added 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Nets, who shot 44.7 percent from the floor and overcame missing 20 of 26 3-point tries. Aldridge contributed 21 to become the 48th player in NBA history and seventh active player to reach the 20,000-point mark.

Aldridge reached the milestone with 1:55 left in the third quarter and got a nice hand from the crowd just before the fourth started.

Reserve Torrey Craig scored a career-high 28 points for Indiana. Rookie Chris Duarte added 19, Sabonis contributed 16 and Lamb had 12 as the Pacers played without Malcolm Brogdon (left hamstring) and shot 39.8 percent.

Craig’s 10-footer gave him 16 points and put Indiana up 46-30 with 9:17 remaining in the half. Brooklyn used a 23-5 run to take a two-point lead on a 3-pointer by Harden with 2:24 to go before the break. The Nets held a 58-55 edge at halftime after Harden hit three free throws with 41.4 ticks left.

Indiana was within 68-67 following a 3-pointer by Craig with 5:32 remaining in the third quarter. Nearly three minutes later, the Nets held an 81-69 lead following consecutive jumpers by Aldridge, and the hosts carried an 85-74 lead into the fourth.

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