Tue, 02 Mar 2021

Star trio set for debut when Nets visit Cavaliers

Field Level Media
20 Jan 2021, 07:19 GMT+10

After getting a 32-point triple-double in his debut, James Harden described the first time he shares the court with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as being "scary hours." Following his strong follow-up Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks, he tweeted out the same two words.

Harden's comment and subsequent tweet were made before his first practice as a Net, and it seems likely the star trio will make their debut Wednesday when Brooklyn visits the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Nets are on a four-game winning streak thanks to Harden's impressive two games. Harden became the first Net to record a triple-double Saturday in a 122-115 victory over the Orlando Magic and then totaled 34 points and 12 assists in a dramatic 125-123 victory over the Bucks in a possible playoff preview.

The Nets are also 5-2 since Irving's last appearance in a 130-96 win over the Utah Jazz on Jan. 5 when he scored 29 points. Irving has not played since due to personal reasons as well as health and safety protocols.

"It's really exciting, just to play with great players that have just been here in the league for a while, been through the ups and downs, the peaks and valleys," Irving said after practice Tuesday. "James is aligned with us in terms of his experience and adding that to our locker room is going to be great for us."

Before his absence, Irving was averaging 27.1 points on 50.4-percent shooting in his first seven games.

Durant is averaging 30.6 points so far and has posted at least 26 points in his last 10 games. Since missing three games from Jan. 5-8 due to health and safety protocols, Durant is averaging 33.6 points on 56.7 (59-of-104) percent from the floor and Monday he capped his fourth 30-point game since returning by hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer with 36 seconds left.

The Cavaliers wound up getting frontcourt pieces Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from the Nets and (due to two postponements in Washington) are playing for the first time since a 106-103 win over the New York Knicks on Jan. 15.

Allen and Prince practiced for the first time Monday and are expected to make their debuts Wednesday. Allen is part of Cleveland's three-man rotation at center after averaging 11.2 points and 10.4 rebounds in 12 games before the trade.

"It makes me feel wanted," Allen said. "It's good to be wanted. It's good that they want to invest in me, invest in my improvement and have me be a part of their organization."

Cleveland's center rotation is anchored by Andre Drummond, who is averaging a career-best 19.3 points and 15.8 rebounds. He has a double-double in each of the 12 games he has appeared in and he totaled 33 points and 23 rebounds Friday.

Drummond's big night helped Cleveland win for the third time in 10 games since a 3-0 start, and Friday's win ended a nine-game streak where Cleveland's offense failed to reach 100 points.

Drummond's latest double-double was his 43rd career game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds.

Cleveland has played the last two weeks without its starting backcourt of Collin Sexton (ankle) and Darius Garland (shoulder), but both were able to complete full practices on Monday and might be available for the Nets game. If they aren't available, Cleveland's starting backcourt against Irving and Durant will likely be rookie Isaac Okoro and Damyean Dotson.

--Field Level Media

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