LOS ANGELES — James Harden performed a masterful game Sunday, scoring 37 points with 11 rebounds, controlling the drift as a facilitator, and main the Nets to a design shut over the Clippers and a sweep of the 2 Western Conference powerhouses in Los Angeles. The Nets have faith long previous undefeated on a five-game boulevard swing thru the West — four of these wins with out Kevin Durant — and Harden is at the coronary heart of this surge.
But all folk had been talking about Sunday night used to be Harden’s flopping. Or, since it used to be in Los Angeles, name it performing.
After a DeAndre Jordan tip-in had the Nets up 110-108 with : 11 seconds left, the Clippers top foremost possession saw Kawhi Leonard pressure previous Harden and exercise his body to glean in put of residing to tie the game with a lay-up (and per chance glean an and-1) — as an replacement the referee saw this as an offensive foul.
It need to have faith been a no name — Leonard used to be physical to glean to his situation, however Harden supplied the contact and obtained the referee’s whistle. It used to be by no intention reviewed. We’ll ogle what the NBA’s Closing Two Minutes File says about the play the next day (these are likely to relief the dependable on the court when it could), however that is no longer any longer a name an dependable need to unexcited invent within the top seconds of what had been an appealing Sunday game between two of the league’s top groups.
“My have interaction from it is we’re gonna play bully ball at the pause of the game, let it plod every systems. But they didn’t name it, so appropriate protection,” Leonard mentioned postgame, sooner than then announcing “alright” and strolling out of the clicking convention room.
“They called it, there’s nothing that you just can well well carry out about it…” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue mentioned. “It is far what it is.”
It used to be a skipped over name, however the Clippers didn’t lose the game on that top shot.
They lost it because they couldn’t dumb the excessive-powered Brooklyn offense — Harden and Irving blended for 65 points — and the Nets switching protection had the Clippers reverting to an isolation originate of basketball in likelihood to the ball motion that has made them the 2nd-most productive offense within the league this season.
The Clippers protection has been pedestrian all season — 15th within the league coming into the game — and Sunday Harden and Irving shredded it. Brooklyn came off picks and obtained into the lane all night, scoring 60 points within the paint and having 31 shots at the rim. None used to be bigger than the Jordan tip-in off an Irving omit that received the game for Brooklyn.
Harden used to be a tall section of the Nets’ offensive success. He has thrived within the facilitator aim since coming to Brooklyn.
“From after I first obtained right here, we’re taking half in demanding and we’re taking half in pleasing,” Harden mentioned. “We’ve had time to head over things on every facet of the ball and that’s why we’re taking half in higher.”
“We’ve obtained to put out a bigger job of capture-and-roll protection,” Clippers tall man Ivica Zubac mentioned after the game, adding the Clippers did force a model of floaters, which had been a aim, however the Nets hit them.
Defensively, the Nets are getting higher — they’re no longer appropriate, however higher. They’ve a system, they swap lots, and while there are some horrible lapses, they’re making improvements to and getting some stops. Jordan had two key blocks on Clippers shots within the top five minutes, providing among the rim protection Brooklyn desires to invent their system work.
“We good fell into the trap,” George mentioned. “Their protection does a model of switching. We tried to manipulate the matchups, obtained off our game of transferring the ball.”
Paul George scored 34 points on 12-of-19 taking pictures, while Leonard added 29 points on the night. Zubac used to be the top completely different Clipper in double figures with 13.
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James Harden’s scoring, playmaking, and performing put Nets previous Clippers in the initiating looked on NBCSports.com