NBA regular season

James Harden shines as Nets down Pacers

James Harden shines as Nets down Pacers

BIG NUMBERS. Brooklyn guard James Harden moves to the basket in the third quarter of the Nets' duel against the Pacers.

Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Nets erase a 16-point deficit against the Pacers as James Harden delivers his best game yet this season

James Harden totaled a season-high 29 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds and the Brooklyn Nets overcame a sluggish start to record a 105-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers in New York on Friday night, October 29 (Saturday, October 30, Manila time).

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.

Harden, who entered averaging 16.6 points on 35.9% shooting, shot 5-of-11 and hit half of his three-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.

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

Kevin Durant added 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists for the Nets, who shot 44.7% from the floor and overcame missing 20-of-26 three-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 three-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 triple 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. –