Bob Levey/Associated Press
James Harden made his return to Houston on Wednesday for the first time since the Rockets traded their franchise player to the Brooklyn Nets, earning a 132-114 victory and reminding his former club of his abilities on the court.
As much as Wednesday was about remembering Harden’s time in Houston, with the team playing a tribute video to the guard during the first quarter, it was also about appreciating where he’s at now. Speaking to reporters after the game, Harden implied he’s thrilled with his time in Brooklyn.
“It’s everything that I signed up for,” Harden said. “Top to bottom, it’s been great.”
Brooklyn could say the same about Harden.
The All-Star netted his eighth triple-double of the season with 29 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds. That helped push the Nets’ record to 17-7 since acquiring Harden seven weeks ago, and it doesn’t seem like there’s much of an answer for him on offense.
“We’re in a really good position,” Harden said. “Now we know each other a little bit better, and now it’s time to get some rest, take care of your body and then be ready to go. The second half is going to be huge for us.”
Harden stressed the importance of getting off to a fast start after the All-Star break, and the Nets’ schedule should help out with that. After opening the second half of the season against the Boston Celtics next Thursday, Brooklyn hosts the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks in two very winnable games.
Depending on whether Durant is able to return from a hamstring injury next week, the Nets could be at full strength when the season resumes.