128-116. Harden returns with a double-double and the Nets beat the Spurs

New York, May 12 (EFE) .- Guard James Harden returned as a reserve and contributed a double-double of 18 points and 11 assists that helped the Brooklyn Nets achieve a 128-116 victory against the San Antonio Spurs and continue in the fight for the best record in the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division.

Harden, who had not played since April 5, returned to reserve, something he did not remember since he won the NBA Sixth Player award with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2011-12 season.

The All-Star guard also had seven rebounds after the longest break of his career. He had not played since April 5 due to a right hamstring strain.

Guard Landry Shamet scored 21 points and power forward Nicolas Claxton had a career-high 18 for the Nets, who won their third straight game and came within a game and a half of the Philadelphia Sixers to lead the Eastern Conference.

Forward Kevin Durant had 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The Nets played without point guard Kyrie Irving after he left his win in Chicago on Tuesday with a facial concussion. The Brooklyn team have still had their three superstars play together just seven times since Harden was traded from the Houston Rockets last January.

But they had eight players hit double-digit numbers and finished with 61 percent shooting from the field and set a league-best 22-8 against teams in the Western Conference.

Guard-forward DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points as the leader for the Spurs, who missed a chance to secure a spot in the entry tournament.

The point guard Dejounte Murray returned to have a consistent game by contributing a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, which also did not prevent the defeat of the Spurs.

The veteran Australian point guard Patty Mills as the sixth player for the Spurs reached 15 points.

Brooklyn improved to 28-7 when Harden plays. He had missed 20 of the last 21 games and the Nets were just 12-9 in that span.

Harden had just two baskets in three quarters and did a little dance after the second when he was fouled while making a triple for a 95-78 partial lead with 2:33 left in the third period.

The Spurs were coming off a 146-125 victory over Milwaukee, scoring a franchise-record 87 points in the first half. They did not reach that total until the last period of the game on Wednesday.

The San Antonio team opened a two-game road trip in New York. His Feb. 20 game against the Knicks was postponed and rescheduled for Thursday.

The Nets used their 36th starting lineup of the season, extending the franchise record they set so far in the league.

(c) EFE Agency

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