As the Nets threw away the NBA’s longest winning streak, James Harden punched a chair.
Nineteen turnovers Saturday led to 32 points for the Mavericks and caused the Nets to look as sloppy with the basketball as they did at times before Harden arrived via trade. Only this time, Harden was primarily at fault, with a game-high six turnovers as he tried to feed teammates other than the injured trio of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Tyler Johnson.
“I played the same way,” Harden said. “I made outlet passes to Bruce [Brown] that I [normally] get, they were deflected. Dribbles to the basket, throw the ball out of bounds — myself, I did that. I wasn’t trying to do more than I normally do. I played my game, and sometimes you have bad games.”
Harden described his turnovers as “careless” examples of “trying to thread the needle.” During one second-half timeout, Harden, who scored only four of his 29 points after halftime, stood from his seat and knocked an empty chair to the ground with his fist.
“We had some careless turnovers for sure that led to run-out layups,” coach Steve Nash said. “That hurts. We’re only down four at the half and gave them 20 points off turnovers. That crushed us.”
The Spurs commit the fewest turnovers per game (11.1) in the league. So, there won’t be extra possessions in Monday’s game for the Nets (14.6) to make up for those given away.
“[The Mavericks] were aggressive on defense — jumping the passing lanes — and made us speed up a little bit and forced us to turn the ball over,” forward Jeff Green said. “In order for us to win, especially when we’ve got guys out, we’ve got to do better. We have to take care of the ball. We have to make sure we get a good shot every time.”
Irving (right shoulder maintenance) was not listed on Sunday’s injury report. Green (right shoulder contusion) did not play the final 15 minutes against the Mavericks and is listed as questionable against the Spurs. He missed one game last week. Johnson (migraine) is considered probable to return. Guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (right knee soreness) started Saturday but was added to the injury report as questionable.
Forward Tyler Cook has played 14 minutes over the two games since he was signed to a 10-day contract for depth. He will bump up the ladder if the Nets are cautious with Green.
“Especially on the defensive end and rebounding,” Cook said, “I can be of immediate service to this group.”