The Nets will fly out of New York on Friday, headed west for a five-game road trip that will take them to Golden State, Sacramento, Phoenix and Los Angeles where they will play the Lakers and Clippers. Other than the Kings game, all of them will be nationally televised. It may very well be the most crucial stretch of the season.
It will also be an opportunity for the “Big Three,” who were joined up a month ago, to show what they can do. So far, as Brian Lewis reports, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden have played together a total of 164:38 in only SIX games. That’s less than three “scary hours.”
Of course, when they’re together, they’ve been virtually unstoppable with a +/- minus of +18, Lewis writes. And when they’re on the court together in the fourth, they are a stunning +24 ... and are the three best scorers in the league in the final 12 minutes.
Their net rating is 28.9, and their offensive rating is 148.2, the best of any trio that has played at least 40 minutes together.
The Nets are 3-0 with the “Big Three” starting along with Joe Harris and DeAndre Jordan, Lewis adds. They’re 1-0 with the trio starting with Harris and stretch-5 Jeff Green, and 0-1 using a big lineup with both Jordan and Green.
Why so few minutes together? Lewis lays it out.
The Nets agreed to the Harden deal Jan. 13, and he debuted three days later. But at that point Irving was still out following a personal leave and the ensuing quarantine.
Then they lost Durant to his second contact-tracing incident of the season, which forced another weeklong quarantine.
Ironically, injury has played a very small role in the lack of Scary Hours. There’ve been days of rest, but other than Kyrie Irving’s sore finger on his shooting hand, the “Big Three” have been healthy. Fingers crossed.
So what to expect on the road trip? Steve Nash laments their lack of playing time together but hopes things will change out west.
““It’s funny. [It’s been] four weeks already, Kevin and Kai and James have played 5 ½ games, if you include the Raptors game, together,” said Nash.
“So it’s kind of astonishing to have him [James Harden] for a month and they’ve only played five [starts] together, or 5 ½ games. So lots of time [left], but we’ve got to get going here and get all three of them on the court and our complete roster going, and try to build and continually improve even if its small margins, small improvements. … If we keep getting better, we’ve got a chance to be a special team.”
- Nets hoping Big 3 finally will get chance to build chemistry - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Talking Nets-Warriors: Steph Curry’s season, Kevin Durant’s return and what to watch for - Alex Schiffer & Anthony Slater - The Athletic NBA