James Harden is happy with the direction the 14-5 Brooklyn Nets are moving after Wednesday night's 123-104 win over the Boston Celtics.
"It's gonna definitely take a collective effort, but I feel like we're in a good place right now," he said.
"We knew it was gonna take some time and it's still a process, but I feel like we in the right direction, as far as just communication defensively, being on the same page," he added. "Offensively, knowing some sets that we can get into with different lineups out there, and then executing. That's pretty much what we've been working on, and what's been happening in these last few games. We've got a long way to go. Long way to go. But we're definitely in the right direction, and it feels good."
After a 2-3 start to the season, the Nets have rattled off 12 wins in their past 14 games, all without the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving, who is not permitted to play home games in New York City and remains away from the team.
Even without him, the Nets still have the superstar duo of Harden and Kevin Durant. The former came into Wednesday's game averaging 20.8 points and 9.1 assists per game. The latter is posting 28.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per contest, and he made history against the Celtics.
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"I watched all of these guys I'm passing up. I wanted to be like them, I wanted to be in the NBA like them and make an impact in the league like them. Iverson was a pantheon for me"<br><br>Kevin Durant reflects on passing Allen Iverson for 25th on the NBA's all-time scoring list: <a href="https://t.co/3J4pM2W8kJ">pic.twitter.com/3J4pM2W8kJ</a>
"They're one of the quietest teams I've ever been around," head coach Steve Nash told reporters Wednesday about his Nets team. "We're not a loud group, but the spirit is growing. The guys are starting to come together and find the joy in playing together."
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Nets are this good. A beat-up Nets team came within a slightly smaller shoe size of beating the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals a season ago and would have been prohibitive favorites to win the title from there, as the Bucks ultimately did.
That group was also without Irving, who was injured, while Harden was playing at less than 100 percent. This year's group, with a healthy Harden, has continued to improve.
While the Golden State Warriors (15-2) top the overall standings in the NBA, the Nets are currently tops in the Eastern Conference, two games above the Miami Heat (12-7) and Chicago Bulls (12-7).
And again, all of that without Irving. If he ever relents on his vaccination stance, or if New York City changes its mandate for professional athletes, this team is going to be almost impossible to beat.