Brooklyn Nets’ James Harden Enters the Record Books With A Blockbuster Debut Game

Published 01/16/2021, 9:18 PM EST
Jan 16, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) shoots over Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) in the third quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports


James Harden was a subject of mockeries before his last game against the Rockets. There was a debate over his weight gain ahead of the match.

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However, as soon as he came out in the Blue Brooklyn Nets jersey, fans witnessed a transformational change in his physique. Before the game, he looked every bit fit and fantastic, amped up and pumped. 

As the stars would have it, his opener for the new city was everything he had been signed for. He entered the court alongside Kevin Durant almost after a decade, and that worked absolutely well. The Nets defeated the Orlando Magic 122-115 in a game that ran neck-to-neck until the beginning of the 4th quarter.

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Jan 16, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) goes in for a layup in the third quarter against the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden and his dreamy debut for the Brooklyn Nets

The 31-YO star had a rather quiet first half where he was more devoted to playmaking than anything else. He recorded 8 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds by half-time.

He then added another 11 points in the third quarter to reach a double-double. However, it was the fourth where both he and Kevin Durant unleashed the firepower. 

Harden and KD combined for 27 points in the Nets’ 38 points in the decisive quarter. Also, The Beard completed his 32-point triple-double with 12 rebounds and 14 assists.

With these figures, he broke a 43-YO franchise record for the most assists in the debut game. Plus, he also became the 7th NBA player ever to do so, the last addition being Russell Westbrook (Wizards). This must have been an immense relief for Harden, who was facing loads of criticism ever since he decided to pull out of the Rockets.

What’s next for the new dream team?

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For the Nets, their bad boy Kyrie Irving has missed six consecutive games and lost nearly $1 million in penalty because of COVID violations. However, he will make a comeback as soon as the league gives him the green signal. 

Now, can one imagine the duo of KD and Harden combining another 74 points with Ky on the team? Maybe, or maybe not. But fans can surely hope for a few games where the three of them combine for 80+ points. 

Both KD and The Beard had last played together for the OKC in 2011-12 when KD was the leader of that team. Also, it was Russell Westbrook who was the second-highest scorer for that team and not Harden. The result? They reached the 2012 NBA Finals but lost it to LeBron James’ Miami Heat. 

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Can this reunion with a new franchise help them better the records from those days? Only time will tell.

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Sourabh Singh

1424 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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