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Nets’ James Harden revels in historic debut; coach Steve Nash hails ‘incredible’ star

Nets superstar James Harden reveled in his record-setting debut, while his coach heaped praise on the 2017-18 NBA MVP.

Harden became the first player in NBA history to post a 30-point triple-double in his debut for a new team after the Nets outlasted the Magic 122-115 on Saturday.

MORE: Takeaways from Harden’s introductory press conference with Nets

Eight-time All-Star Harden swapped the Rockets for the Nets in a blockbuster trade Thursday, and his first game in a Brooklyn jersey resulted in 32 points, a franchise-record 14 assists, 12 rebounds and four steals. Harden was 8 of 18 from the field (3-of-10 shooting from 3-point range) in 40 minutes.

“It felt really good [to get the win]. The guys got after it,” Harden said afterward. “Individually, I’ve got to stop turning the basketball over (he had nine turnovers Saturday), but that comes with chemistry, that comes with practice, that comes with watching film.”

Asked what the record meant, Harden told YES Network: “Nothing, I’m just happy we came away with the win. Those stats don’t mean anything.”

“When you’re paying with really, really good players, it’s pretty easy,” Harden added. “For me, I’ve just got to learn reads, learn where guys like the ball, just learn our personnel individually so once I get that, the turnovers will cut down, I can be more efficient.”

Disgruntled in Houston and eyeing an exit from the Rockets, Harden arrived in Brooklyn out of form, but the sharpshooter showed what the Nets are getting as they’ve assembled a super team that also consists of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Nets first-year coach Steve Nash, who now leads a genuine championship contender, hailed Harden postgame.

“I can’t say I’m surprised,” Nash said. “We had a pretty big simple size of him doing that [for] however many years in he’s been in the league. But it’s still not easy. He’s still not in his best condition yet, he’s joined a new group.

“Basically no practice time, and figured it out on the fly. He had a bunch of turnovers just because he’s new to the team and the group and you’re thrown out there in an NBA where the other team is an excellent-coached basketball team. . . . But all the things he did on the floor were incredible for his first game.”

Reuniting with former Thunder teammate Harden, Durant led the way with a game-high 42 points as the Nets improved to 8-6 following a third consecutive win.

Durant also made franchise history for most consecutive 25-plus point games with nine.

“James, he played the same way he always played, to be honest,” Durant said. “He played the same way he was playing in Houston, being a pass-first guard, trying to get guys good looks. He played the same way.

“Coach put him at the point, I think that’s his natural position, is point and combo guard. For him to get 14 assists, 12 rebounds for us at the point guard was key.”

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