NEW YORK — Brooklyn Nets stars Kevin Durant and James Harden are jelling at an impressive pace — and the history books back that up.
On Monday night, they became the first duo to score 30-plus points in each of their first two games with a franchise as the Nets defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 125-123. Durant had 30 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, while Harden put up 34 points, 6 rebounds and 12 assists.
That came on the heels of Harden’s 30-point triple-double performance on Saturday against the visiting Orlando Magic in his Nets debut, a game in which Durant scored 42.
Since Harden’s arrival in Brooklyn, Nets coaches and management have repeatedly said they would lean on the previous chemistry that Harden and Durant had built during their tenure with the Oklahoma City Thunder. After all, Harden hasn’t yet had a single practice session with Brooklyn.
Harden said their maturity has further aided their on-court synergy.
“We were young in Oklahoma City,” said Harden, 31, who played with Durant, 32, on the Thunder from 2009 to 2012. “We are grown men now. We know what we want. We really know the game of basketball now. We are not those young guys that want to run around and just shoot and dunk all day. And then for me, I sit back and I know what player Kevin Durant is. He’s one of the best players to ever touch a basketball.”
Harden and Durant have combined for 138 points in their first two games together in Brooklyn, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information research. That is the second-most combined points for teammates in their first two games together with a franchise in NBA history, after Wilt Chamberlain and York Larese had 151 with the Philadelphia Warriors in 1961. Chamberlain scored 139 of the 151 points, with Larese scoring 0 in their first game together and 12 in their second.
Durant said he isn’t surprised how quickly he and Harden are meshing on the court.
“We’ve been through a lot in this league,” Durant said. “Experienced a lot, and for us to bring it together now and combine what we’ve learned over this time and try to play great basketball, I think it was pretty seamless for us.
“It was an easy transition, especially with James handling the ball a lot coming in. So we’re still trying to find our way, and we’ve still got room to improve, but it’s a solid start.”
And on Tuesday, the Nets are expected to add another ingredient to the mix, as Kyrie Irving is set to practice for the first time in more than two weeks.