SAN ANTONIO (AP) James Harden had 37 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, spoiling Dejounte Murray’s ninth triple-double of the season as the Brooklyn Nets outscored the San Antonio Spurs 117-102 on Friday night.
Murray had 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his second straight triple-double and the 13th of his career, one shy of David Robinson’s franchise record. Harden’s triple-double was his 66th, which is eighth on the all-time list.
“(Harden) got into his groove,” said Patty Mills of Brooklyn. “He felt where he could impact the game. I got into the paint, he obviously shot well and also good from 3. When he has that variety he does it pretty quickly and pretty easily.
Kyrie Irving scored 24 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 for the Nets, who are missing star Kevin Durant with a knee injury.
Brooklyn’s fifth straight win over San Antonio marked a successful comeback for Aldridge and Mills. Both were honored with video tributes and received loud ovations during presentations. Aldridge finished with 16 points and Mills nine points.
“We knew how emotional it was for Patty and LA to come back to San Antonio, so I’m just happy we were able to get a win for them,” Harden said.
Harden’s collision with Spurs guard Derrick White midway through the third quarter seemed to spark the Nets.
White left the game with 6:16 to go after taking an elbow to the nose of Harden on a missed layup. White stayed on the court for about 30 seconds before slowly getting up and walking out with a towel pressed tightly to his nose as Harden grabbed his elbow. White came back to close out the last 2 1/2 minutes of the quarter.
Harden responded with eight straight points, including an emphatic dunk over 7-foot Jakob Poeltl and a three-point play. He finished with 23 points in the second half.
White finished with 17 points for San Antonio, and Poeltl added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Brooklyn also got more physical in the paint defensively and closed out the third quarter with dunks from Aldridge and Bruce Brown as part of a 6-0 run for a 79-74 lead.
“I think tonight proved to us that we can play that defensive quality that we’ve shown in previous games,” Mills said.
Brooklyn shot 48 percent from the field and was 9 of 25 from 3-point range. Harden was 13 of 24 from the field and 4 of 8 from 3s.
San Antonio missed 34 shots in the paint.
“It’s an inordinate number of misses in the paint,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “It’s quite difficult to do. And if you combine that with 27% shooting from 3, you’re going to have a problem because obviously James and Kyrie are hard to deal with and they did what they’re supposed to do, and they got us.
Mills and Aldridge said they were touched by the 2-minute tribute video Spurs showed ahead of the whistleblower.
“To be able to be welcomed back was special,” Mills said. “A lot of memories come back right after being back in the building. It was a special night.”
The Nets watched the video alongside former Spurs players and congratulated them.
“It was better than my video,” Harden said with a smile. “I almost wanted to redo them or make them up or cry with them. It was special.
Nets: Mills played his first game in San Antonio as a visitor since March 28, 2011. It was his fifth career game against the Spurs, including the Nets’ home win on January 9. Mills played his first two seasons with Portland before a 10-year career at San Antonio. He signed with Brooklyn in the offseason. … Durant missed his third straight game with a sprained left MCL … DeAndre’ Bembry returned after missing two straight games with a back injury. … Joe Harris remains out after undergoing surgery on his left ankle on November 29. He was expected to miss four to eight weeks, which would bring him back to early February. Harris was averaging 11.3 points and shooting 47% on 3-pointers in 14 games before the injury. … The Nets are 16-5 on the road.
Spurs: Murray and Robinson are the only Spurs players to have consecutive triple-doubles in franchise history. … Popovich was called a technical foul with 7:15 remaining after demonstratively arguing a no-call. Popovich apparently believed Kessler Edwards travelled, as do most Spurs fans. … San Antonio is 8-9 with its regular starting roster and 9-20 with different rosters. … Spurs assistants Becky Hammon, Mitch Johnson and Darius Songaila remain under league health and safety protocols.
Nets: At Minnesota on Sunday.
Spurs: Host Philadelphia on Sunday.
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