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Harden, Rockets too much for Nets: 123-113

NBA: Houston Rockets at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- They played well, but it wasn’t enough against the second-best team in the West.

The Rockets (39-13) won their fifth straight game over the Brooklyn Nets (19-36), 123-113, Wednesday night at Barclays Center. The Nets have now lost seven of the last eight – five of the last seven by double digits.

Now, the wait begins on Caris Levert, who was body slammed by Nene on what was deemed a legal screen. The Nets medical staff was trying determine if LeVert had suffered a concussion. As of the post-game press conference, there was no information on his condition.

“They made a lot of tough shots,” said Kenny Atkinson post-game. “For them, we limited their 3-point attempts. Instead of shooting 50 - what’d they have, 33? - so that was good. We did a decent job keeping them off the free throw line, but it’s pick your poison with them so we never really found a solution to stop them.”

Down 10 in the second quarter, the Nets finished the half down two. They fought their way back and even took a four-point lead in the third quarter, but the Rockets finished out the quarter on a 12-2 run and took a double-digit lead.

They never looked back from there, although the Nets brought it within six with under a little over a minute remaining. Then, James Harden put the dagger home with 33 seconds to go up 10.

It got worse for the Nets, who lost LeVert after the hard screen from Nene at the end of the third quarter. LeVert was bleeding profusely after the play and did not return.

He finished the night with nine points in 12 minutes.

“I think it moved all of us,” said Atkinson about LeVert’s injury. “I think we’re all affected, but we’re professionals and guys moved on, it’s just we obviously missed Caris the player.”

In the first matchup between the two teams, they set an NBA record with 89 3-point attempts. On Tuesday, they totaled 68. The Rockets take the most amount of threes with 43 per game and finished the night 16-of-33. The Nets rank second and shot 16-of-35.

DeMarre Carroll scored a team-high 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting. It’s the sixth time this season that he’s scored 20 or more points, one short of his career best. Spencer Dinwiddie chipped in 18 points and nine assists, while Jarrett Allen scored 16 points, his eighth straight game in double figures. Over the last five, he’s averaged 15.6 points and six rebounds.

Off the bench, Jahlil Okafor scored 15 points and had six rebounds on 7-of-9 shooting and D’Angelo Russell scored 10 on 4-of-12 shooting. It was a good night for development of the team’s two-way players. James Webb III had his best game with Brooklyn, scoring six points on 2-of-3 shooting from deep and grabbing six boards. Meanwhile, in Uniondale, Milton Doyle recorded a triple double AND set a team scoring record. He finished with 42 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, hitting 11 three’s on 15 attempts.

For Houston, Harden went off for 36 points on 11-of-23 shooting. Chris Paul chipped in 25 points and seven rebounds, and Clint Capela finished with a double double (18 points, 11 rebounds).


Add Mike D’Antoni to the list of coaches who have complimented the Nets after a hard fought battle this season.

“You have to give it to Brooklyn, they wouldn’t let us put it away. They kept coming back. They kept hitting hard shots. We would go up seven and Brooklyn would hit a hard three. They played well; they played with a lot of energy. Like I told them, Brooklyn isn’t going to beat themselves, we’ll have to beat them. They’re well coached and they do a good job.”


With the Bucks in New York to play the Knicks, both Rashad Vaughn and Tyler Zeller were able to quickly switch jerseys. Following his physical exam, Vaughn dressed and played four minutes, not scoring. He will wear No. 17, the same number of his draft pick.