Wednesday, October 27

With defined roles, Nets look for more success against Kings

Kyrie Irving reached out to James Harden in the middle of last week to tell the newly acquired star that he was now the team’s point guard.

Harden surely made that clear with his pass in Brooklyn’s most recent game, and will look to rack up another slew of assists when the Nets visit the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

The third member of the team’s star trio, forward Kevin Durant, will miss at least the next two games due to a strained left hamstring.

Durant suffered the injury while scoring 20 points in Saturday’s convincing 134-117 road win over the Golden State Warriors, a competition in which Harden made several dazzling passes and provided 16 assists. Production was the highest in 14 games with the Nets since he was acquired from the Houston Rockets.

Irving said there wasn’t much in the conversation with Harden about role definition.

“I just looked at him and said, ‘You’re the point guard and I’m going to play shooting guard,'” Irving said. “That was as simple as that.”

Irving established himself at point guard before the trade. Upon arrival, Harden let it be known that he was fine with whatever role was required.

Irving’s move to gain access to Harden could prove beneficial, and the Nets are expected to be one of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference all season.

And with Harden averaging 11.6 assists since joining the club and Irving averaging exactly half that amount (5.8) for the season, it could turn out to be a move both players thrive on.

“We were all fine with that,” Harden said. “For me as a point guard, I try to make guys’ shots and obviously know where the guys like the ball. Kyrie is an amazing scorer. He can score from anywhere on the court, so making sure he’s involved, and he does a good job of getting involved anyway. “

Irving scored 23 points on 10 of 17 shots in the easy win over Golden State. Harden scored 19 while shooting 5 of 8 from 3-point range.

The Nets will look to defeat the Kings for the fifth time in a row when they take the court for Game 2 of a five-game road trip.

Sacramento is 0-3 in a five-game homestand after Sunday’s lackluster performance that resulted in a 124-110 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

“We didn’t play hard enough to win the game,” said veteran backup Cory Joseph after matching his season record of 16 points.

The Kings scored the game’s opening basket and never led again as Memphis controlled the game.

The three consecutive losses come after a streak in which Sacramento won seven of eight games.

But suddenly, the Kings have backtracked and allowed an average of 122 points during the blackout.

“You have to play this game every night at a certain level,” Sacramento coach Luke Walton said. “We are still learning that lesson, and it can be painful at times.”

Star point guard De’Aaron Fox (knee) returned from a one-game absence to record 23 points and nine assists for the Kings.

Sacramento rookie Tyrese Haliburton scored 22 off the bench for his third 20-point effort in the past six games. He made 3 of 6 3-point attempts and is 20 of 36 from long range during the stage.

However, Buddy Hield (2 of 10 shooting) and Harrison Barnes (2 of 6) both scored just eight points.

Sacramento forward Marvin Bagley III (calf) is on a daily basis after missing the last two games. Their availability will be determined on Monday.

–Field level media

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