James Harden leads Nets from down 24 to stun Suns

EditorsNote: adds “on Tuesday” in lede; new second graf; changes to “64.4 percent” in next-to-last graf; changes to “and shooting” in last graf

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James Harden amassed 38 points and 11 assists and Joe Harris added 22 points as the short-handed Brooklyn Nets rallied from a 24-point deficit to earn a 128-124 road victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

The 21-point, second-half comeback was the largest for the Nets since they joined the NBA in the 1976-77 season.

Jeff Green scored 18 points off the bench for Brooklyn and Tyler Johnson added 17 in his first start of the season.

The Nets, who were playing without both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, won their fourth straight game. Irving was nursing a sore lower back while Durant missed his second consecutive game with a mild hamstring injury.

Chris Paul scored 17 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and Devin Booker added 22 points and seven assists as the Suns saw their season-best winning streak end at six games. Phoenix led the entire game until the Nets took their first lead on a Harden 3-pointer with 31.4 seconds remaining.

The game marked the return of first-year Nets head coach Steve Nash to Phoenix, where he earned MVP honors in 2004-05 and 2005-06. The Suns increased capacity from 1,500 fans to 3,000 for the occasion.

Despite trailing 73-49 late in the second quarter, the Nets pulled within 108-106 with 6:40 remaining after a 3-pointer by Johnson. Green got the Nets within 124-123 with 59.6 seconds remaining on a drive to the basket and a layup.

After the Suns’ Mikal Bridges missed a 3-point attempt with 39.5 seconds remaining, Harden made his 3-pointer at the other end to give the Nets their first lead at 126-124. Harden added two free throws with 11.3 seconds remaining.

Playing for the second time in two nights after a victory at Sacramento on Monday, the Nets struggled to keep pace with the Suns early. Phoenix led 20-10 just over five minutes into the game and made nine of their first 13 shots. They ended up holding a 33-22 lead at the end of the opening period.

The Suns increased the pace in the second quarter, outscoring Brooklyn 42-32 in the period to carry a 75-54 lead into halftime. Booker had 18 points in the first half while the Suns shot 64.4 percent from the field.

The Nets pulled off the victory by outscoring Phoenix 40-24 in the fourth quarter and shooting 65 percent in the final period. Deandre Ayton scored 16 points for the Suns while Jae Crowder added 15.

--Field Level Media