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No practice, no problem: Harden posts triple-double in Nets debut

James Harden becomes the seventh player in NBA history to record a triple-double in his first game with a team.

From Staff

James Harden delivered 32 points and a triple-double in his Brooklyn debut.

James Harden made a strong first impression in his debut with the Brooklyn Nets.

In fact, he made history, becoming the first player to post a 30-point triple-double in a team debut.

Harden finished with 32 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds in Brookyln’s 122-115 victory over the Orlando Magic. The 14 assists were a franchise record for a player making his Nets debut.

Amazingly, Harden didn’t score until making a pair of free throws with 6.8 seconds left in the first quarter and didn’t make his first basket until a layup with 10:07 remaining in the half. But his playmaking was on track from the start, pushing up the floor to find teammates rather than often dribbling down the shot clock in Houston.

Harden is the seventh player in NBA history to record a triple-double in his first game with a team.


Triple-double in team debut

Oct. 19, 1960 — Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals
21 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists (NBA debut)

Oct. 18, 1974 — Nate Thurmond, Chicago Bulls
22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, 12 blocks (quadruple-double)

Feb. 6, 1976 — John Shumate, Buffalo Braves
16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists

Oct. 29, 1983 — Lewis Lloyd, Houston Rockets
28 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists

Oct. 17, 2018 — Elfrid Payton, New Orleans Pelicans
10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists

Dec. 23, 2020 — Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards
21 points, 11 rebounds, 15 assists

Jan. 16, 2021 — 2021 — James Harden, Brooklyn Nets
32 points, 14 assists, 12 rebounds


In a postgame interview, Harden deflected questions about his dazzling Brooklyn debut.

“Those stats don’t mean anything,” Harden said. “I’m just happy we came away with the win.”

Harden was cleared to play earlier in the afternoon after all the players in the blockbuster trade that brought him from Houston had completed their physicals.

He had no practice time with the Nets and apparently didn’t need it.

NBA TV breaks down James Harden’s big debut for the Nets.