Basketball

Brooklyn Nets in fine fettle ahead of James Harden’s arrival

The Brooklyn Nets limbered up for the arrival of James Harden in a blockbuster NBA trade with a 116-109 win over the New York Knicks yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Star forward Kevin Durant scored 26 points to lead seven Nets players in double figures - a performance all the more impressive with just nine Brooklyn players available.

News that the Houston Rockets would send their disgruntled star Harden to Brooklyn in a four-team deal electrified the league yesterday.

The four players on their way out of Brooklyn - Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Rodions Kurucs and Taurean Prince were unavailable and, according to coach Steve Nash, not at Madison Square Garden.

Durant, however, scoffed at the suggestion that the deal had made for "drama and chaos" around a team already dealing with the absence of Kyrie Irving for undisclosed personal reasons.

"The game simply is enough for us," Durant said. "The guys are coming out there enjoying playing every day, no matter what the circumstance is."

The addition of former Most Valuable Player (MVP) Harden - the league's top scorer for the past three seasons - would enhance their ability to challenge in an Eastern Conference led by the Milwaukee Bucks for the past two seasons.

The Bucks notched their third straight win, 110-101 over the Pistons in Detroit, on the back of a triple-double from NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Over in Oklahoma City, reigning champions the Los Angeles Lakers routed the Thunder 128-99 to improve their league-leading record to 10-3 and remain unbeaten in seven games on the road.

LeBron James scored 26 points with six rebounds and seven assists. - AFP

Basketball