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Nets' success despite no Durant bodes ill for rest of league

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James Harden has seamlessly stepped in and stepped up as a playmaker for Brooklyn.

Video Transcript

MATT WINER: Just amazing night again for Harden, huge numbers-- 30, 14 rebounds, 15 assists-- first player with 30 points and at least 15 assists without a turnover since LeBron back in March of 2018.

He also had his seventh triple-double as a Net, which makes him second all time in franchise history behind Jason Kidd. 53rd of his career, by the way.

And GA, in this Nets stretch where they've now won nine of 10, they've only had Kevin Durant for one of those games. How impressive is this Nets performance over the last couple weeks?

GREG ANTHONY: It's impressive and scary for the rest of the league because they're really figuring it out. And James Harden right now just playing at another level. And the thing that stands out the most-- and you're seeing it now because he's playing with talent.

When you got a guy like Kyrie next to you, you don't feel the need to force it, right? He trusts his teammates. He knows he can be this explosive when need be. But for the most part, he's very happy just being a facilitator.

This is one of those nights where he's able to make shots. No real rim protection for San Antonio with that roster right now. And so just an incredible performance.

And the Nets right now, man, they're just building, right? They're just getting some momentum. They probably don't even want to see the All-Star break with how they're playing but for potentially getting Kevin Durant back.

MATT WINER: Yeah, how impressive is it that Harden has integrated himself so seamlessly? Basically, he's the leader on the floor. Kyrie Irving identified him as the point guard and said, all right, we're following your lead here.

CHANNING FRYE: I think it's easy, right? D'Antoni is there. Steve Nash is there. Basically, they're running the same offense. And as GA said, they're more talent.

I was shocked. And GA went. It was his turn. But I'm like, think about Popovich as arguably the greatest coach of all time. You have to double team James Harden at halfcourt with Kyrie Irving on the court. So that's how dangerous he is. You're choosing, we're going to double team the MVP and give it to-- just give it to Kyrie instead of having James Harden with the ball.

And what's going to happen when KD is out there, right? Like, they're playing good basketball. And it's not like the big man always sets a screen. You had Brown set the screen, who's another guard, making the decisions, which is not like a regular big man who can't dribble or can't shoot or can't make a play. It's like you have another guard, another playmaker.

So I love watching the Nets. And I'm excited to see what's going to happen when they get their full team. Because right now the rhythm that they're on is very, very scary.

MATT WINER: So you're saying not great options for opposing coaches.

CHANNING FRYE: No, no. Listen, most teams got one or two good defenders. And they got about the three best one-on-one players in the NBA right now. So good luck.