Kevin Durant effectively sealed the game with just more than 36 seconds left , sinking a wide-open 3-pointer to put the Brooklyn Nets up by two, as the Nets ultimately edged the Milwaukee Bucks by a final score of 125-123.
James Harden missed a clean look from downtown, but hustled for the rebound near the free-throw line as he passed to the open Durant at the top of the key. When Durant gets an uncontested look that deep in the game, you have to love your chances of him coming through for his team.
“It’s a huge one for us,” Harden said. “It’s only our second game together.”
Any time you can say you beat Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in your second game together, that’s a victory in itself.
— NBA (@NBA) January 19, 2021
The Nets maintained a greater than one possession lead over the Bucks for the final nine minutes and change of the third quarter and even built and sustained a double-digit lead for much of the period.
But the Bucks then shaved the Nets lead to five to close out the third, as they ultimately clawed their way back in front at the 10:11 mark in the fourth thanks to a three-pointer by Pat Connaughton.
That would’ve been a great time to call a timeout, no? Well, Steve Nash trusted his guys to stick it out without a formal regrouping, and that’s what the Nets did.
Harden ultimately blew the driving layup attempt on the other end, but he showed great sticktoitiveness and back tapped it to Bruce Brown as Brown ripped the ball away from a Bucks player and got the putback layup to go over two defenders to help the Nets retake the lead.
The Nets would then eventually build a seven-point lead with a little under eight minutes left in the game, as they were leading pretty comfortably until a Brook Lopez three-pointer tied things up at 110 with five minutes left in regulation.
After that, it was basically a see-saw affair the rest of the way until Durant’s three-pointer proved to be the knockout punch the Nets desperately needed.
Durant finished with 3o points, nine rebounds, six assists, and two blocks. Harden had 34 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds in his second game as a Brooklyn Net.
The Nets also saw great contributions from their other three starters, as DeAndre Jordan put up 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Joe Harris and Jeff Green chipped in with 20 and 14 points, respectively.
Harden and Durant are looking deadly as a duo so far in their first two games together after being teammates almost a decade ago (very crazy to even say that) as members of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Once they get Kyrie Irving back into the mix, in Harden’s own words, it’s going to be “scary hours.”