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James Harden records ninth triple-double as Nets get revenge vs. Pistons, 100-95

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Detroit Pistons v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Jeff Green, Brooklyn’s ‘voice of reason’ said it best on Friday - “We owe them one.”

It wasn’t easy or pretty but the Nets got their revenge against the Pistons, who had handed Brooklyn a humiliating loss on February 9, defeating Detroit, 100-95.

The Pistons did not go away as they picked up their first lead since the opening minutes of the second with 2:51 remaining in the game but James Harden came up big when the Nets needed him most, scoring the last 10 Nets points, putting the Nets on his back. as the game came down to the final seconds.

Harden continued his late-game cooking, delivering a nifty floater to put Brooklyn up five points with 19.1 remaining. On the next possession, Mason Plumlee connected on a layup off an out-of-timeout play but the Nets succeeded in the foul game, making all their free throws to secure the revenge win.

“James got some key buckets down the stretch and I take my hat off to the Pistons. They were physical, played good defense, very well-coached, and made it hard on us,” Nash said following the win. “We didn’t make shots, which is uncharacteristic, but in key moments, we were able to get baskets and more importantly get stops.”

With the win, not only did the Nets avenge their loss, they have now won 12 of their last 13 games and improve to 26-13 on the season. They’re now a half-game back of the conference leader, the idle Philadelphia 76ers.

To make the revenge sweeter, five Nets finished in double-figures, led by the Nets backcourt duo of Harden and Kyrie Irving, who combined for 42 points.

“Everyone stepped up and a play here or there. They were winning plays and sometimes you have to find a way to win when you don’t even have your best stuff,” Nash said.

Harden, who was the latest Net to hear MVP chants from the Barclays Center crowd, finished with his ninth triple double of the season — 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in 38 minutes. Irving recorded 18 points, four rebounds, and five assists in the win.

“I heard the crowd tonight,” Harden said. “It was exciting. I’m anxious and can’t wait to let more fans in. I can’t wait for that day.”

Landry Shamet had himself a near-perfect birthday game as he continued his strong shooting, finishing with 15 points on 3-of-3 shooting from deep and 5-of-6 overall in 22 minutes off the bench. Joe Harris finished with 10 and DeAndre Jordan with 14 and nine rebounds. Nicolas Claxton played 18 minutes, racked up eight points, three rebounds, two blocks, two assists and a steal.

The Nets finished the win shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from deep.

As for the Pistons, Jerami Grant put together a 22-point performance followed by the Nets 2021 second-round pick, Shaddiq Bey, who finished with 13 points in 29 minutes. Detroit falls to 10-28 with the loss.

The Nets opened the contest putting on the pressure offensively. While Detroit attempted six threes - knocking down three of them - in the opening five minutes, Brooklyn focused their offensive attack on the inside.

Following a timeout up four with 6:55 remaining in the first, Detroit ran their offense through former Net, Mason Plumlee, looking for mismatches on the block but quickly went back to shooting the long ball off the ball movement. After making their first three threes, the Nets held the Pistons to 0-for-11 from deep in the opening quarter.

As for Brooklyn, their scoring was a collective effort in the first as all starters were on the board - led by Harden, who had eight points, four rebounds, and an assist in nine minutes. Nets finished the first period shooting 55 percent overall but 20 percent from three. Nash pointed the shooting struggles to Detroit’s defense and the Nets missing shots.

“Little bit of both. As I said, I want to give them some credit. We forced some tough threes but we also missed a lot of open ones so we could’ve had more separation if we had a more typical shooting night,” Nash said. “You give them credit. I think Coach Casey does a heck of a job. They play hard, they play physically, and we didn’t have a great game but you got to give them some credit.”

The Nets had a sluggish start to the second as the Pistons played more physically and upped their aggression attacking the boards. While Detroit opened the second strong, Claxton opened up his bag a little bit displaying some coast to coast while showing his aggressiveness in transition - giving the Nets solid play.

Irving checked back into the game at the 7:49 mark of the second and provided the instant offense and creating opportunities for his teammates. While Irving was finding his spots, Harden and DeAndre Jordan had their connection flowing, pairing for a series of lobs and slams.

The Pistons struggled to make shots, ending the quarter shooting 37.7 percent overall and a rough 15 percent overall. Detroit ended the half missing their last 15 threes. Despite struggling to make shots, the Pistons hanged around due to their activity on the boards - outrebounding Brooklyn 24-19. Eight of their 24 boards were offensive rebounds as the Pistons trailed the Nets 51-46 at the break.

As for Brooklyn, the Nets ended the half shooting 55.3 percent from the field but only 1-of-11 from deep. In fact, the four combined threes between the two teams were the fewest combined threes in any half for the Nets this season.

The Nets opened the third with more energy and higher defensive intensity, leading to a Joe Harris 5-0 run due to Harden’s nifty dishing as Detroit called a timeout to regroup down 10. The Pistons regrouped and didn’t go away, cutting the lead to one point, but with revenge on their mind, Brooklyn answered. The Nets concluded the third on a 17-6 run, which included 11 points from Shamet, to put Brooklyn up 78-66 heading into the final 12 minutes.

Detroit got the best of the Nets in the opening minutes as the Pistons opened the final period on a 7-0 run with no plans to go away. The game was tied up at 92 with 1:47 remaining but Harden took over, scoring the last 10 points for Brooklyn as the Nets got their revenge and a win.

More milestones for James Harden

James Harden keeps piling up milestones. Saturday night, there were two. His 24-10-10 triple double was his ninth triple-double in 25 games as a Nets. He’s now four trip-dubs away from breaking the franchise record of 12, twice done by Jason Kidd.

In fact, between the end of Kidd’s ‘s Nets career in 2008 and Harden’s arrival this season, no Net had more than one triple double. Among those with one: Kyrie Irving, D’Angelo Russell, Vince Carter and Terrence Williams.

His other milestone was an ever bigger deal. With his final free throw, Harden surpassed Larry Bird in career scoring, moving into 34th place all-time.

“We all know how good Larry was and the things he did in Boston,” Harden said after being informed of the feat post-game. “A legend. And I think I just play the game the right way, and hopefully good things happen for me passing one of the greatest ever to play basketball is a great honor.”

Harden now has 21,792 points, one more than Bird. The Beard could also move up in one, maybe two, other career categories this season. He’s fifth all-time in 3-pointers made at 2,426, 24 shy of Kyle Korver, who’s in fourth. He’s already made 102 three’s this season with 33 games to go. He’s 134 behind Reggie Miller for the No. 3 spot.

Similarly, he’s already made 200 free throws so far this season. If he makes 217 from now till the end of the regular season, he’ll be 11th all time, slipping past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Dolph Shayes who finished their careers with 6,712.

The Film Room

On his 24th birthday, it’s only fitting Landry Shamet had perhaps his most balanced scoring game as a Net. Shooting 100% from deep is one thing, but doing so on ridiculous attempts wedged DEEP into the corner is just ridiculous stuff from the birthday boy.

“The birthday boy –– he was great. He is on a hot streak here and it’s awesome to see,” Nash said. “He made some big shots for us. We wouldn’t have won the Boston game without him and we wouldn’t have won tonight without him. Pivotal performances from Landry and we definitely needed those big baskets he made tonight.”

Shamet balanced his scoring game with other shots as well; a midrange pull-up after getting run off the line. Or as you’ll see below, he created for himself off a dribble-handoff by dribbling allll the way to the basket before softly tossing it over the shot-swatting Isaiah Stewart. Bonus points for the off-hand finish!

An even-keeled scoring palette only makes the sharpshooter more lethal; his widespread approach across the floor on offense forces a defense into second guess-thinking, giving Shamet additional room to toss-up heat-seeking shots from deep.

It was another piece of redemption for Shamet. In December, he shot 25.0 percent; in January, 32.7 percent; in February 40.5 percent and now 47.8 percent in March. And just for good measure, he outscored Saddiq Bey, the first-rounder the Nets gave up in their 3-team Draft Night deal. Bey finished with 13 points, but shot 2-of-9 from three and 4-of-13 overall.

Shamet is now shooting 39.84 percent from three for his career, 16th best among active NBA players and at a better clip than any of the “Big Three.”

Caris is back!

Caris LeVert made his long-awaited Indiana Pacers debut on Saturday, starting against the Phoenix Suns in his first action since after undergoing surgery to remove a small growth on his left kidney. The lesion was discovered during a routine physical exam following the four-team trade that sent LeVert from Brooklyn to Indiana and James Harden to Brooklyn.

Here’s video of his first points in blue-and-gold...

LeVert played 27 minutes and although he was rusty, shooting 5-of-14 overall —including 0-of-4 from deep, he finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists.

As Sponge Bob might say...

Per Will Hanley

What’s next

The Nets will return back in action when the team hosts their cross-town rival, the New York Knicks, on Monday, March 15. The game is set to tip at 8:00 PM ET.

For a different perspective, check out Detroit Bad Boys - our sister site on SB Nation covering the Detroit Pistons.