James Harden makes Clippers debut with 17 points but Knicks spoil the party

James Harden 1

The Los Angeles Clippers had a new look on Monday night, as they started their four stars together for the first time this season. James Harden, who was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers last week, made his Clippers debut against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. He joined Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook in the starting lineup, forming a formidable quartet that had high expectations.

Harden, who had missed the first 10 games of the season due to a hamstring injury, said he was excited to play with his new teammates and envisioned “unlimited possibilities” with the Clippers. He also said he was ready to move beyond his tumultuous exit from the 76ers, where he had requested a trade since the summer.

“I’m just happy to be here, happy to be playing basketball again,” Harden said before the game. “I’m not worried about the past, I’m focused on the future and what we can accomplish here.”

James Harden 1

Harden scores 17 points but struggles with his shooting

Harden showed some rust in his first game of the season, as he scored 17 points but shot only 5-of-18 from the field and 2-of-10 from the three-point line. He also had six assists, four rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes of action. He said he felt good physically but admitted he needed some time to get his rhythm and chemistry with his new team.

“It’s going to take some time, it’s not going to happen overnight,” Harden said. “But I think we have a lot of talent, a lot of versatility and a lot of depth. We just have to figure out how to put it all together and play the right way.”

Harden did have some highlights in his debut, such as a step-back three-pointer in the first quarter, a lob pass to Leonard for a dunk in the second quarter and a crossover dribble that left Julius Randle spinning in the third quarter. He also received a warm welcome from the Knicks fans, who chanted “MVP” when he went to the free throw line.

Knicks spoil the Clippers’ party with a 111-97 win

The Knicks, however, were not impressed by the Clippers’ star power, as they played with more energy, intensity and cohesion. They led by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter and never let the Clippers get close. They outrebounded the Clippers 54-38, outscored them 56-36 in the paint and held them to 39.8% shooting from the field and 28.6% from the three-point line.

Randle led the Knicks with 27 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, while RJ Barrett added 24 points and seven rebounds. Kemba Walker had 19 points and six assists, and Evan Fournier had 18 points and five assists. The Knicks improved to 7-4 and snapped a two-game losing streak.

The Clippers, meanwhile, fell to 8-3 and had their six-game winning streak snapped. Leonard had 24 points and nine rebounds, George had 18 points and seven rebounds, and Westbrook had 16 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. But they also combined for 15 turnovers and shot poorly from the field and the free throw line.

The Clippers will try to bounce back on Wednesday, when they host the Miami Heat. The Knicks will try to build on their win on Thursday, when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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