Nets Create Latest Super Team
The great teams have at least two superstars on their roster but the Nets went one better and added a third when they traded with the Rockets for James Harden to join fellow All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Harden made his Brooklyn premier and at the same time, history, when he became the first player to post a 30-point triple-double in his team debut in the Nets’ 122-115 win over the Magic on Saturday.
But Harden wasn’t the only one making history on Saturday night as teammate Kevin Durant became the first member of the Nets to score 25 or more points for the ninth consecutive game. The NBA lines tagged the Nets as 9 ½ point favorites over Orlando and as good as Harden and Durant were, it was not enough to cash for their backers.
Yet, the following game on Monday night was a shot across the bow of all their Eastern Conference foes when the dynamic duo of Harden and Durant combined for 64 points and defeated the powerhouse Milwaukee Bucks in a 125-123 nail biter that went down to the wire.
“This is what they do. They wake up, come to the game and they score 30,” said Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. “If you’re not aggressive and you’re not locked in against them, they’re going to score 50.”
“We’re still trying to find our way and we’ve still got room to improve, but it’s a solid start,” Durant said.
“It’s a huge win for us,” Harden said. “This is our second game together and we haven’t had one practice.”
And it is mind-boggling to think that the Nets have won both games with Harden in uniform but without Kyrie Irving. The six-time All-Star has been out for personal reasons and then violated NBA COVID-19 protocols which forced him to quarantine for an additional five days, and also cost him a $50,000 fine in addition to two game checks.
There is little doubt that the triumvirate of Harden, Durant, and Irving constitutes one of the greatest Big 3’s ever assembled. However, can these eccentric personalities coexist on the same team without an eruption? Only time will tell but right now they are the odds on favorites to win the East and the chief rival to the Lakers repeating as NBA champs.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>James Harden on KD: "I know what type of player Kevin Durant is. He’s one of the best players to ever touch a basketball. It’s God-given, 7-foot, and can basically do everything. For me, it’s not trying to compete with that. It’s allowing Kevin to be the best Kevin he can be." <a href=”https://t.co/gRUiI2JazZ”>pic.twitter.com/gRUiI2JazZ</a></p>— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) <a href=”https://twitter.com/MikeAScotto/status/1351372984544538626?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 19, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Porter Moving on Out?
It’s never a good sign when a college basketball player leaves the program after his freshman season only to be taken at the very end of the first round. It’s usually a combination of bad advice and youthful, wide-eyed optimism that gets the athlete in search of big, NBA money before he’s fully cooked.
Such is the case of Kevin Porter Jr., the former USC star who left after one season and was tapped as the 30th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks but was summarily dealt to the Cavaliers via the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 10 points over 23 minutes per game in his rookie campaign but was relegated to the sidelines for personal issues before this season began.
In November, Porter was involved in a single-car accident when police spotted a loaded handgun and marijuana in his vehicle. A grand jury declined to indict Porter on the weapons charge while the misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession and driving without a license were also dropped.
The saga continued when Porter learned his locker had been given to newly acquired forward Taurean Prince, who joined the Cavs after a four-team trade with the Nets last week. Reports state that Porter became enraged upon learning his locker was now Prince’s and he was being given a locker with the younger and end of bench players. According to The Athletic, Porter hurled expletives at GM, Koby Altman, and threw food inside the locker room.
Head coach, J.B. Bickerstaff is reportedly disgusted by Porter’s antics and a full-court press is on to trade him to any team that will have him. Short of that, the Cavaliers are expected to release him within the next day or two. A professional athlete’s window is tight enough but Porter may have just closed it shut and has no one to blame but himself.