Losing skid finally ends as Kings stymie Harden, Nets originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Riding a seven-game losing streak, the Kings were desperate for a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.
All it took was for James Harden to have one of the worst nights of his 13-year NBA career.
Harden, the nine-time NBA All-Star and three-time scoring champion, tallied just four points on 2-of-11 shooting in 37 minutes against the Kings. He also missed all five of his 3-point attempts and committed a game-high six turnovers as Sacramento defeated the Nets 112-101 in front of a gleeful home crowd.
“I thought James looked tired tonight,” Nets coach Steve Nash told reporters after the game. “He didn’t have his legs. It was one of those nights.”
It was Harden’s lowest-scoring output in games with at least 30 minutes on the floor since he was held to six points in 33 minutes on Nov. 17, 2014 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Credit where credit is due. The Kings’ defense stepped up.
“I’ve never seen him ever play 37 minutes and score four points,” Kings interim head coach Alvin Gentry said of Harden. “To do that type of job on James was phenomenal. The 11 shots he took, I thought there was a challenge on 10 of them for sure. The fact that we did a good job of keeping him out of the lane, and he didn’t have nearly as much dribble penetration as we thought we would have to deal with.”
Harden didn’t score his first points of the game until there was 1:49 remaining in the first half. He also didn’t get to the free-throw line once.
“We had a really good game plan — put two on him when we come off the ball screens,” guard Davion Mitchell said. “Just show him presentation when he’s in [isolation] situations. … He did a really good job of hitting his open teammates. We just tried to let them beat us instead of him. I think our game plan worked really well.”
Earning his fifth career start, Mitchell poured in 18 points. The rookie was tasked with defending Harden and fellow Nets superstar Kyrie Irving at times Wednesday night and handled both like a steady veteran.
“It doesn’t surprise me, but for [Mitchell] to be a rookie and to be able to do some of the things he can do defensively, it’s been a real plus to us,” Gentry said. “I think he’s developed a lot more confidence in his shot. He’s not afraid to take the big shot.”
Irving was limited to 14 points in 37 minutes.
“I just thought it was a really good team effort,” Gentry said. “A much, much, much, much needed win for us.”