Finally back together, Brooklyn Nets' Big Three take down Chicago Bulls, eye postseason run

NEW YORK -- As the NBA regular season winds down and the playoff picture continues to take clearer shape, the Nets' Big Three of James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were able to play together for just the eighth time this season on Saturday afternoon. After a slow start, the Nets defeated the Bulls 105-91 and are one step closer to securing the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

"I think our mentality," Harden said after the game, "is that it's winning time. At this point, it's whatever it takes."

For the first time since Feb. 13, Harden, Durant and Irving all started together -- alongside Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown. Harden finished with five points, five rebounds and seven assists. Durant added 12 points, shot 4-of-17 from the field and had nine rebounds and six assists. Irving led the Nets with 22 points and two rebounds in 30 minutes of play.

Durant said that he didn't think it was challenging for him to find a rhythm with Harden and Irving.

"We've all been playing the game for a while, so I feel like we can adjust and adapt as time goes on," Durant said. "Injuries kept us away from playing with each other, but mentally, we were always locked in and trying to find different ways to play. Our voices were loud on the bench when we were injured. Guys always talking in the film room.

"Guys are just actually playing minutes now. But we always been in constant communication with each other and trying to figure out the best way to play."

At first, it took the Nets a beat to figure out that best way to play. Even with the Nets' Big Three on the floor, the Bulls jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first quarter.

Irving -- who declined to answer questions about the game, instead focusing on discussing the violence between Israel and Palestine -- kept the team afloat, rattling off 13 points in the first quarter. The Nets were able to build a 10-point lead by halftime.

"We woke up," Harden said. "It was a 1 o'clock game. We're going to need that confidence from every guy tomorrow and then going into the postseason."

With the win over the Bulls, the Nets sit as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Philadelphia 76ers having already clinched the No. 1 seed. The Nets will now watch to see what happens between the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.

A Milwaukee loss would clinch the No. 2 seed for the Nets. A Bucks win would force the Nets to need to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night to secure the No. 2 seed. The outcome of Saturday night's Heat-Bucks game not only affects seeding, it also impacts who the Nets might make available to play Sunday against the Cavaliers.

Durant said that while he expects to play Sunday, the outcome of the Bucks game might affect that.

"We want to finish the season off, so I'm sure we're all looking at that game and seeing what happens," Durant said. "Just for rhythm and just to get back on the court again, I want to play. But we'll see what happens tonight."

Steve Nash added that he will be keeping an eye on the game between the Bucks and the Heat, but added that the Nets are vying for the second seed.

"We just have one game to win," Nash said. "We control our own destiny as far as seedings go. If we can win that game, it's much better being the second seed. It's a little advantage we can create."