James Harden dishes out 16 assists in new Nets point guard role

James Harden dissected Golden State with 16 assists Saturday night, the most by a player in Brooklyn Nets history. And as he continues to look like the most effective point guard in the league, the Nets’ former point guard has officially bestowed the position on him.

“I feel like he’s doing a great job of managing the point guard role,” Kyrie Irving said after the Nets’ 134-117 victory over the Warriors on Saturday night. “We established that maybe four days ago now. I just looked at him, and I said, ‘You’re the point guard, and I’m going to play shooting guard.’

“That was as simple as that. So he’s been taking control of the responsibilities and doing an incredible job. It just makes my job easier to just go out and play free and just make plays. It’s a luxury. I just want to continue it.”

Irving plays a game like a great improvisational jazz musician, while Harden is running Brooklyn’s offense like a master conductor. Harden’s 16 assists were the most handed out by a Net since Deron Williams’ 20 back on March 30, 2012. That also happens to be the Nets’ last road win at Golden State.

James Harden looks to make a move during the Nets' 134-117 win over the Warriors.
James Harden looks to make a move during the Nets’ 134-117 win over the Warriors.
NBAE via Getty Images

“[The talk] went quick, it went professionally and we looked at each other in agreement and James was like, ‘OK, I’m the point guard and you’re the shooting guard,’” said Irving, who scored a team-high 23 points. “It’s easy to play off somebody that’s willing to complement your game and ready to sacrifice and it’s easy to do. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity.”

Harden, Irving and Kevin Durant scored or assisted 100 points, and the Nets were plus-21 in their 21.7 minutes together. Harden, for his part, said the move to full-time Nets point guard came easily.

“Yeah, I came to this team knowing that they have two special scorers on this team,” Harden said. “Obviously I can score when I need to, but as long as I’m getting everybody involved and Ky is getting the shots that he wants, KD is getting the shots that he wants, it’s pretty efficient and it seems to work well that way. And offensively is not the problem for us. We can score in bunches. It’s defensively, and it seems like we’re getting a rhythm as of late, so we’ve just got to keep it up.”

DeAndre Jordan is expected to join the Nets on this five-game road trip.

Asked if Spencer Dinwiddie could return this season from his ACL surgery, coach Steve Nash said he didn’t want to put any undue pressure or unrealistic expectations on the guard.

New York Post

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