James Harden touts Kyrie Irving’s ‘killer mentality’ after 40-point outing in win
Kyrie Irving led the Brooklyn Nets to a 121-109 win over the Boston Celtics Thursday night with a dominant 40-point outing against his former team, and James Harden lavished praise on his backcourt partner after the game.
Along with the 40-point scoring burst, Irving tacked on eight rebounds and three assists across 34 minutes in the Nets’ third straight victory and ninth win in the the team’s past 10 games.
FORTY PIECE.— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 12, 2021
Highlights from @KyrieIrving's big night in Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/WeFIRifbXt
Irving thrilled the limited number of fans inside Barclays Center during Thursday’s winning effort, even eliciting “MVP” chants.
MVP chants for Kyrie.— ESPN (@espn) March 12, 2021
He dropped 40 on his former team pic.twitter.com/7cMYmwuUAB
Harden, who has elevated his overall game and transformed into more of a facilitator since joining the Nets, chipped in 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 38 minutes of action. After the game, Harden gushed over how Irving consistently manages to take over games.
@SteveNash: "The guys played an outstanding game considering the layoff."— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 12, 2021
@KyrieIrving: "We just wanted to come back from vacation and play with maximum effort."
@JHarden13: "[Kyrie's] just different. He's a different breed."
Postgame Quotes by @GEICO:
“He’s a different breed,” Harden told reporters, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “He has that killer mentality no matter who we play. He’s going to go out there and try to destroy the opponent. That mentality is what sets him apart from a lot of guys in this league.”
The fact that the Nets remain on a roll that began well before the All-Star break is a testament to the steadily evolving chemistry between Harden and Irving, especially with Kevin Durant still sidelined with a hamstring strain. The latest news on Durant isn’t encouraging, either, as the Nets star was scheduled to undergo more testing and imaging on the injury next week and presumably won’t be available in the near future.
So long as Irving and Harden continue their recent stretch of cohesive and outstanding play, though, the Nets (25-13, No. 2 in the Eastern Conference) will be in prime position to continue to run roughshod over the NBA when Durant returns, whenever that does indeed occur.