Nets Lose to Cavaliers in First Game With Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden

Author:
Updated:
Original:

The first time Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant all started together for the Brooklyn Nets did not go as planned.

Collin Sexton and the Cleveland Cavaliers spoiled their collective debut with a 147–135 victory over the Nets in double overtime Wednesday.

Sexton, the No. 8 pick in the 2018 draft, notched a career-high 42 points, which included 20 straight points in the two overtime periods.

Irving, who had not played since Jan. 5 due to personal reasons and violating the league's health and safety protocols, scored 37 points with three assists and four turnovers in 48 minutes. He escaped injury late in the second quarter after landing awkwardly following a lay-up. 

Durant led the Nets with 38 points and 12 rebounds while also collecting eight assists. Harden logged a triple double, scoring 21 points with 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

Wednesday night's matchup marked the first time Irving had played in Cleveland since 2017, and the franchise honored him with a tribute video.

He received a standing ovation from the roughly 2,000 fans that filled the arena, and he waved (and pointed at his ring finger) in response to the warm welcome.

On Jan. 15, the NBA fined Irving $50,000 for attending a private indoor party during his absence.

Nets head coach Steve Nash said in a news conference before the game that he was excited to see the trio play together.

"I am not in a rush to make it work," Nash said. "I am not going to say 'Oh no!' if it doesn't work tonight. We will try to figure out how dynamic and versatile they can be."

Last week, the Nets acquired Harden, the 2017–18 MVP, in a deal with the Rockets. In Irving's absence, Harden became the first player in league history to record 30-plus points and 10-plus assists in his first two games with a team. He also posted a triple double of 32 points, 14 assists, and 12 rebounds in his first game with Brooklyn, becoming the first player ever to do so while debuting for a team. 

The Nets had won both games in which Harden appeared before Wednesday. The team sits at 9–7 for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, while Cleveland is one spot below them at 7–7.