March 25, 2023

PHILADELPHIA–James Harden’s time with the Brooklyn Nets wasn’t long. After a little over eight seasons with the Houston Rockets, Harden was traded to the Nets eight games into the 2020-21 season looking to win a title with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.

Unfortunately for Harden and the Nets, things went sideways as everything that could possibly go wrong did and Brooklyn ultimately couldn’t deliver on their enormous potential. In 80 games with the Nets, Harden averaged 23.4 points, 10.5 assists, and 8.2 rebounds before being sent to the Philadelphia 76ers at the 2022 deadline.

Harden has faced his former Nets team before, but on Wednesday, he delivered a knockout punch. After Brooklyn rallied to tie the game at 120 with 4:06 left after trailing by 17, Harden knocked down two huge triples to break the tie and he then got to the basket to give Philadelphia some separation in a 137-133 win over the Nets.

“Go get a bucket,” Harden said bluntly after the win. “I had space and got in my bag.”

The Sixers really needed Harden to bail them out. The Nets went to a zone defense and Philadelphia really had trouble getting into any sets and attacking any soft spots. So, they gave the ball to the future Hall of Famer and he knocked down two really big shots to seal it for the Sixers.

“At the end of the day, he’s James Harden,” said Tyrese Maxey. “When in doubt, he’s gonna do some stuff that amazes you. That’s what he did and it was big time.”

When asked if there was anything extra for Harden considering that it was against his former team, he simply said: “No.”

It does seem as if there is a rivalry beginning to brew between Philadelphia and Brooklyn. Both are two really good teams with star power on both sides and there is the Simmons factor for Philadelphia and Harden for Brooklyn.

However, The Beard isn’t trying to hear any of that.

“I don’t know,” said Harden. “For me, it’s a game. I’m tryna win. I don’t care about all that other stuff. That’s for everybody else.”

Harden will make his return to Brooklyn on Feb. 11 when the Sixers invade Barclays Center.


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Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire

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