NEW YORK (AP) – Kyrie Irving scored 40 points, Jeff Green made two free throws with 3.7 seconds left, and the Brooklyn Nets overcame the early loss of James Harden to beat the New York Knicks 114-112 on Monday night.
Harden returned after missing two games with right hamstring tightness but lasted just four minutes before leaving again with the same injury.
But the Nets still have Irving, who wore down the Knicks‘ defense with his dazzling dribbling moves that freed up space for jumpers, including a 3-pointer with 59 seconds left after New York had closed within two.
The Knicks scored five straight to tie it at 112 on Alec Burks’ 3-pointer and forced the ball out of Irving’s hands-on Brooklyn’s next trip. Joe Harris missed a jumper, but Green got the rebound and was fouled.
After his free throws, Julius Randle missed a jumper as time expired.
Green scored 23 points, and Joe Harris added 16 for the Nets, who won their eighth straight home.
Randle had 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 12 assists in his fourth triple-double of the season. RJ Barrett scored 22 points, and Reggie Bullock added 21.
The Nets were hoping to finally be whole again this week, but now with Harden hurt again, it’s unclear if they’ll be able to put either of their other superstars out there with Irving. Kevin Durant shot around before the game, and coach Steve Nash said he was hopeful the All-Star forward would be ready to play for the first time since Feb. 13.
“But it’s definitely not set in stone,” Nash said.
The Nets’ Big Three has played just seven times since Harden was acquired nearly three months ago.
Brooklyn led 51-50 with just over three minutes remaining in the half before Randle fed Bullock and Barrett for consecutive 3-pointers. Irving scored, but New York answered with the following 11 points, with another 3-pointer by Bullock making it 67-53.
Irving went to the bench with the Knicks leading by seven with 3:15 to play in the third. But Brooklyn’s reserves sparked a 10-2 run to close the period and send the Nets to the fourth with an 89-88 edge.
Knicks: The Knicks signed F/C John Henson to a 10-day contract. Per team policy, the terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Knicks had already signed Norvel Pelle, another defensive-minded center, to a 10-day deal on Friday. Despite their similarities, coach Tom Thibodeau said he likes the idea of getting a look at both players.
Nets: Blake Griffin rested his left knee on the second night of the back-to-back, just as he did last week. … Nash said G Tyler Johnson would likely miss two or three weeks rehabilitating a right knee injury, calling it encouraging that the damage wasn’t worse.
FIT TO BE TIED
Knicks: Visit Boston on Wednesday.
Nets: Host New Orleans on Wednesday.
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