James Harden Brooklyn Nets
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Houston Rockets rode a massive performance from James Harden to a win and a season split against the Brooklyn Nets.

  • Brooklyn Nets 98 (16-15)
  • Houston Rockets 108 (22-10)
  • NBA, Final, Box Score
  • Toyota Center, Houston, TX

Basketball is a game of runs and that has never been truer than in the Toyota Center on Saturday night. The Houston Rockets burst out to a 22-point lead in the first quarter and it appeared as if the Brooklyn Nets forgot there was a game on the schedule.

But Brooklyn had a couple tricks up its sleeve for the Western Conference contender. A few surges throughout the second and third frames brought the Nets back to within striking distance, but it was an unlikely run from Brooklyn’s second unit to start the fourth that would bring the Nets back to level terms with the Rockets.

After falling behind 42-20 at the end of the first quarter, the Nets were able to take a 90-89 lead with 8:55 left in the fourth. There are rollercoasters in Coney Island that don’t have that many ups and downs.

Despite the massive comeback from Brooklyn, Houston had too much firepower from its two stars: James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The pair combined for 67 points, 19 rebounds, and 13 assists. A dagger three from Harden sealed the deal in the final minutes, but his 23 points in the first quarter were the most impressive highlight of the night.

Conversely, Spencer Dinwiddie dished out 11 assists, but failed to find any consistency with his shot, only scoring 17 points on 20 attempts from the field.

Brooklyn bounced back offensively from its historically bad shooting night against the New York Knicks on Thursday, but it still wasn’t pretty. Head coach Kenny Atkinson’s squad shot 11-for-39 from deep while Dinwiddie and Garrett Temple combined to shoot 0-for-12 by themselves. Needless to say, that’s not ideal.

Brooklyn will look to avoid a three-game losing streak in Minnesota on Monday (8 p.m. ET).

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.