After scoring just 10 points through three quarters on Monday against the Miami Heat, Harden put up 10 points in the final quarter and finished with 20 points and eight assists in the Nets' 98-85 win. Attempting to solve his role puzzle, Harden said, is "the best part" of his first few weeks in Brooklyn.
"I was in a role for eight years, controlling the ball, dominating the ball," Harden said, referring to his time in Houston with the Rockets. "Now it's a different experience for me, but it's still great."
Harden was coming off his lowest-scoring performance in a calendar year. On Saturday, he had just 12 points in the first of the team's two games against the Heat, but the Nets found solace in his facilitating. Coming into Monday's game, Harden had finished with double-digit assists in every game he had played in for Brooklyn.
Kevin Durant, who finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, said Harden's performance against Miami was the "perfect balance" of scoring and facilitating. "Feels like he just transferred to a new school and he's trying to figure out the curriculum," Durant said. "And it's going to take some time to figure out who your teammates are, what your rotations are in the game, when to be aggressive, when to score, pass."
He continued: "As a scorer and the focal point of your offense, sometimes the balance between score and pass -- you got to figure that out each night."
Steve Nash said he is confident that with more time to build chemistry and get into better shape, Harden will continue to improve on striking that balance.
"I'm lucky to be able to do more than just one thing on the basketball court," Harden said. "So, it's fun. Like I said before, it's a game within the game, you got to pick and choose when to be aggressive, when to gets your shooters going, when to let KD and Kyrie get going."