Brooklyn Nets star James Harden cites maturity as reason for early chemistry with Kevin Durant


NEW YORK — Brooklyn Nets stars Kevin Durant and James Harden are jelling at an impressive pace — and the history books back that up.

On Monday, they became the first duo to score 30-plus points in each of their first two games with a franchise as the Nets defeated the Bucks 125-123. Durant had 30 points, 9 rebounds and six assists in Monday’s game, while Harden put up 34 points, 6 rebounds and 12 assists.

That comes on the heels of Harden’s 30-point triple-double performance on Saturday night in his Nets debut against the Magic.

Since Harden’s arrival in Brooklyn, Nets coaches and management have repeatedly said that they would lean on the previous chemistry that Harden and Durant had built during their tenure in Oklahoma City together. After all, Harden hasn’t yet had a single practice session with the team.

Harden said that their maturity has further aided their on-court synergy.

“We were young in Oklahoma City,” Harden said. “We are grown men now. We know what we want. We really know the game of basketball now. We are not those young guys that want to run around and just shoot and dunk all day. And then for me, I sit back and I know what player Kevin Durant is. He’s one of the best players to ever touch a basketball.”

James Harden and Kevin Durant have combined for 138 points in their first 2 games together in Brooklyn, according to ESPN’s Stats and Information Group. That is the 2nd-most combined points for teammates in their first two games together with a franchise in NBA history after Wilt Chamberlain and York Larese had 151 in 1961. Chamberlain scored 139 of the 151 points, with Larese scoring 0 in their first game together and 12 in their 2nd game.

Durant said that he is not surprised how quickly he and Harden are meshing on the court.

“We’ve been through a lot in this league,” Durant said. “Experienced a lot, and for us to bring it together now and combine what we’ve learned over this time and try to play great basketball, I think it was pretty seamless for us.”

Durant added: “It was an easy transition, especially with James handling the ball a lot coming in. So we’re still trying to find our way and we’ve still got room to improve, but it’s a solid start.”

And on Tuesday, the Nets are expected to add another ingredient to the mix, as Kyrie Irving is set to practice for the first time in over two weeks.



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