James Harden gets triple-double, Kevin  Durant net season-high 42

KEVIN Durant scored a season-high 42 points and James Harden added a 32-point triple-double in his debut for the Brooklyn Nets, who recorded a 122-115 victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night in New York.

Durant shot 16-of-26 and set a franchise record by scoring at least 25 points for the ninth straight game. He surpassed 30 points for the fifth time this season as the Nets won their third straight.

Harden shot eight of 18 from the field and grabbed 12 rebounds. He added four steals and made 13 of 15 free throws in 40 minutes. His 14 assists broke the franchise record set by Kevin Porter in 1977 for assists in his debut with the team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Harden also became the seventh player in National Basketball Association (NBA) history to record a triple-double in his debut with a new team.

Joe Harris added 17 points for the Nets, who shot 53.8% and hit 16 3-pointers in their sixth straight game without Kyrie Irving (personal reasons, health and safety protocols).

Nikola Vučević scored a season-high 34 points for Orlando, which dropped its fifth straight but played its most competitive game of the skid.

Terrence Ross added 23 and rookie Cole Anthony contributed 16 as Orlando shot 46.3% while playing without Evan Fournier (back spasms) for the eighth straight game.

Harden hit five free throws, assisted on a layup by Landry Shamet for his 10th assist, and hit a 3-pointer in the final 1:52 as the Nets held an 84-83 lead into the fourth quarter. The Nets took a 96-88 lead early in the fourth on a 3-pointer by Harden, but Orlando was within 100-98 on a jumper by Ross with 6:57 left.

Durant surpassed 40 points by hitting a 3-pointer with 4:35 remaining to give Brooklyn a 110-104 lead. Harden picked up his triple-double when he got the rebound of a missed jumper by Anthony with 3:10 remaining, and the Nets secured the win when Durant drove the lane and passed to Bruce Brown for a corner 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining that pushed the lead to 117-107.

Harden scored his first points as a Net by hitting two free throws with 6.8 seconds left as the Nets held a 29-26 through 12 minutes. Harden added six more points as the Nets held a 52-50 lead by halftime after Orlando ended the quarter on a 7-2 spurt.

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant described new team mate James Harden as “incredible” after the guard recorded a triple-double on his debut for the team in their 122-115 NBA victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.

Harden joined the Nets from the Houston Rockets on Thursday to reunite with Durant — his former team mate at Oklahoma City Thunder — and the duo looked dominant in their first game together with the Brooklyn team.

Durant scored a season-high 42 points while Harden, the NBA’s MVP in 2018, became the seventh player in NBA history to register a triple-double in his debut with a new team and finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists.

“It was incredible. You could see him trying to figure out the best way to play early on. I felt we all were over-passing, trying to make everybody comfortable,” Durant told reporters.

“Then he got into his mode, being aggressive to score. That opened up the whole game for all of us. Glad he got his feet up under him, he’s got to keep plugging away, keep getting better each day.”

Durant said he was impressed with Harden in the point guard role, with Kyrie Irving missing his sixth straight game due to personal reasons and health and safety protocols.

“James played the same way he always plays… the same way he was playing in Houston. Handling the ball, being a past-first guard, trying to get his guys good looks,” Durant said. — Reuters