Sport Irving's double-double lifts Nets past Harden, Rockets

04:50  02 november  2019
04:50  02 november  2019 Source:   houstonchronicle.com

Kyrie Irving puts on a show, but needs to do more for himself and the Nets

  Kyrie Irving puts on a show, but needs to do more for himself and the Nets Kyrie Irving paused.

NEW YORK – The showdown of the league’s leading scorers did not offer much to see by their standards. The Rockets’ James Harden got his numbers, but mostly struggled. The Nets’ Kyrie Irving slammed the door in the final minute, but was far from his customary level of sensational.

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Instead, the Rockets' usual problems sent them to a 123-116 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, with their broken defense to open the season unable to slow the Nets until the hole was too great to escape.


WATCH: Harden savages Irving

Harden finished with 36 points, but made just 2 of 16 3-pointers. Irving scored 22 with 10 assists, but the Nets were led by Taurean Prince’s career-high 27 with Caris LeVert adding 25.

The Rockets cut a 15-point deficit to as few as five with 3:50 left as the Nets had rolled offensively through three quarters, but made 5 of 17 shots in the first eight minutes of the fourth.

With the game there to be taken, the Rockets could not make the shots to finish the comeback. Danuel House Jr., whose 3-pointer pulled the Rockets within five, missed a pair of open 3s. Harden came up empty on a pair of drives.

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After Prince sank a corner 3 with two minutes left, the Nets led by eight and the Rockets were forced to fire away, with Harden and Eric Gordon missing 3s.

Harden, Gordon and Russell Westbrook were a combined 3 of 27 on 3s. But the Rockets’ greatest issues were on the other end, where they could not get stops until the Nets were 15 points in the clear.

The Rockets had built and blew a double-digit lead, but there was nothing new about that. They had led by at least 10 in every game this season and took the lead on Friday to as much as 15.

They saw a team light them up, but that too has become the early season routine, with the Rockets defense ranked 29th in the NBA. The Nets enjoyed their turn scorching the Rockets by hitting 56.1 percent of their first-half shots, including 66.7 percent of their 3s to go in front.

The Rockets were not accustomed to struggling so badly with their own shots.

The Rockets ended the first half making 1 of 9 shots and began the second half making 1 of 9. After lighting up the Nets, and especially Irving, but driving to the rim, Harden became increasingly dependent on his 3-pointer, making just of 1 of his first 12 as the Nets turned a 15-point deficit to a 15-point lead.

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That made it three consecutive games in which the Rockets went from a double-digit lead to a double-digit deficit.

The Rockets took their familiar first steps to a run with Westbrook opening the fourth quarter with a pair of drives and a pass to House for a 3-pointer. But soon, the Rockets were just firing away from deep again, missing far too often to sustain a run.

Related slideshow: Top images from the NBA season (provided by imagn)

a basketball player in front of a crowd: Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) drives for a shot past the block attempt of Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie (20) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center on October 30, 2019. 

Doc Rivers comments on son Austin’s Instagram post after ejection .
Austin Rivers seemed like the happiest person in the Toyota Center when his father Doc got ejected from Wednesday night’s Los Angeles Clippers-Houston Rockets game, but Doc clearly was not offended. © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Doc Rivers was involved in a heated exchange with the officials late in Wednesday’s game, and Austin immediately began motioning to the refs to slap his dad with a technical foul. Austin then trolled Doc on his way off the court after the Clippers coach was ejected.

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