NBA

Durant: Nets still building continuity with Harden

By Sports Desk November 03, 2021

Kevin Durant believes star Brooklyn Nets team-mate James Harden is in good shape and his slow start to the season is due to establishing some continuity.

Harden contributed 16 points, 11 assists and four rebounds in the Nets' 117-108 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, as he continues to build towards his best former after rehabbing a hamstring injury during the offseason.

The former NBA MVP is down on his usual scoring output – averaging 18.3 points this season, his lowest since ending his third year in the league averaging 16.8 in 2011-12 – prior to the midweek clash – compared to his career average of 25.1 points per game.

Harden got to the line once against the Hawks, while 11 of his 14 shots from the field were from three-point range.

Durant pointed to the fact Harden only joined the Nets from the Houston Rockets in January before battling injuries, playing together only 11 times last season, meaning they are still establishing continuity and cohesion.

"I think he's in good shape. I think he's playing well," Durant told ESPN after the championship-chasing Nets' third straight win. "It's a matter of us getting used to each other, figuring out line-ups and that stuff takes time.

"Continuity, we don't have a lot from last year. We're trying to build on that.

"Controlled the game from the point guard position, made shots when we needed to, it's a good win."

In contrast to Harden's form, Durant dominated with 32 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Another former MVP, Durant has scored 20-or-more points in each of his last 21 games for the Nets and has been a key reason the Nets have started 5-3 with Kyrie Irving absent and Harden regaining form.

Durant is averaging 28.3 points (most since his final season with the Oklahoma City thunder in 2015-16), a career-high 8.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists while boasting a career-best 59.2 per cent field-goal percentage. If he maintains this level, the Nets superstar would join LeBron James as the only non-bigs to average 25 points per game on 55 per cent shooting in the last 35 seasons.

"I know we're all trying to get better as the season goes on," Durant said. "I'm not looking at the rest of the team like they've got to catch up.

"It feels like we're all growing and learning and figuring each other out every single day. It's good to see that development in real time. We'll keep grinding, that's all I've been saying."

Related items

  • Marcus Smart set for Celtics return in Game 5, Tyler Herro remains out for Heat Marcus Smart set for Celtics return in Game 5, Tyler Herro remains out for Heat

    The Boston Celtics will receive a big boost for their crucial Game 5 clash against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, with Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart returning to the line-up.

    Smart missed Game 4 after suffering an awkward ankle injury in Game 3. 

    Adding to the Heat's problems is the fact that Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro will not return for Game 5, having not recovered from the groin strain that also kept him out of Game 4.

    With each side missing one of their key players, the Celtics were buoyed by the performance of backup point guard Derrick White, who posted a handy stat-line of 13 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals in his first start since missing Game 2 for the birth of his child.

    White's performance – especially on the defensive end – will likely cement his position in the rotation above fellow bench guard Payton Pritchard as Smart returns to the equation.

    On the other side, it was Victor Oladipo shining off the bench as he tried to fill Herro's shoes, with the former All-Star scoring 18 of the Heat's first 28 points in Game 4, going on to finish with 23 points, six assists and four rebounds. 

    He also had a plus/minus of plus four from his 30 minutes, meaning the Celtics won the 18 minutes he was off the floor by 24 points.

    Game 6 will head back to Boston on Friday, before a potential Game 7 back in Miami, if required.

  • French Open: Nadal brushes off Moutet to seal 300th grand slam match win French Open: Nadal brushes off Moutet to seal 300th grand slam match win

    Rafael Nadal recorded his 300th grand slam match win by easing into the third round of the French Open, beating Corentin Moutet in straight sets.

    The 'King of Clay' is in search of a record-extending 22nd major title at Roland Garros, where he was dethroned by Novak Djokovic last year.

    On this evidence, Nadal is in the form to re-establish his dominion of the tournament, overcoming a spirited home hope, who enjoyed the benefit of vocal support from the crowd on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Wednesday evening.

    Nadal will see room for improvement having failed to serve the match out in the third set, but a 6-3 6-1 6-4 win was never in doubt.

    The tone for a procession was established when Nadal raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set, and Moutet's dream of playing his idol soon appeared to be turning into a nightmare.

    Nadal won the second set in commanding fashion behind an excellent first serve, but found Moutet's resistance more stern in the third.

    That spirit was exemplified by Moutet breaking Nadal's serve with the Spaniard ahead 5-3. However, Nadal immediately responded in kind, dominating Moutet from the back of the court and wrapping up a landmark victory when the Frenchman sent a lob long at the end of an entertaining rally.

    Nadal will face Botic Van De Zandschulp in the third round.

     

    Data Slam: Nadal 107-3 opponents

    As well as being his 300th grand slam match win, Nadal's triumph was his 107th at Roland Garros. He has still only tasted defeat in Paris three times. The fifth seed won all 11 of his first-serve points in the second set of another impressive display.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Nadal – 27/22
    Moutet – 16/24

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Nadal – 1/2
    Moutet – 0/3

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Nadal – 7/12
    Moutet – 2/4

  • Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo secures Giallorossi's first major European title Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo secures Giallorossi's first major European title

    Nicolo Zaniolo led Roma to their first major continental title with a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final in Tirana on Wednesday. 

    After suffering a defeat in the 1984 European Cup final and missing out on UEFA Cup glory seven years later, the Serie A side were not to be denied an elusive European triumph and lifted their first trophy since the Coppa Italia in 2008. 

    Zaniolo, who missed the entire 2020-21 season after suffering a second ACL injury in under a year, dinked in an exemplary finish in the 32nd minute to put Roma in charge. 

    Feyenoord upped their game after the restart and were denied by the woodwork twice in three minutes, but Jose Mourinho's men tightened up and saw out a famous victory.

    The meeting between the competition's two most prolific sides was bereft of goalmouth action for much of the first half, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan's withdrawal due to injury the most notable event in the opening half hour. 

    Roma moved in front with the first real chance of the match, though, as Zaniolo brought down Gianluca Mancini's excellent delivery with his chest and stabbed an instinctive finish home. 

    Feyenoord made a bright start to the second half and Mancini diverted a fizzed low cross onto the near post of his own goal before Rui Patricio parried Guus Til's follow-up behind. 

    Patricio produced a stunning stop in the 50th minute when he tipped a ferocious 20-yard drive from Tyrell Malacia onto the woodwork. 

    Justin Bijlow denied Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini as Roma tried to get a second on the break, but Bryan Linssen was unable to connect with Cyriel Dessers' flick-on in stoppage time on a painful evening for Feyenoord.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.