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Harden scores 58 in loss to Nets as Cousins to debut for ‘most hated’ Warriors | Sport

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 25 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and overtime and the Brooklyn Nets spoiled James Harden’s 58-point night with a 145-142 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Harden had his second straight season-high after scoring 57 in a victory over Memphis on Monday night, but was only five of 19 from three-point range against the Nets. The Rockets shot an NBA-record 70 threes, making just 23. Harden has scored at least 30 points in 18 straight games and has reached 40 in nine of the last 12.

In Oakland, Stephen Curry scored 41 points as the Warriors held off the Pelicans for their sixth straight win. The Warriors are expecting DeMarcus Cousins to make his debut for the team after returning from injury in the coming week, and the presence of another All-Star for the champions has led some to complain the NBA finals are already effectively decided. But Cousins shrugged off such criticisms in an interview with ESPN: “I don’t really pay attention to storylines,” Cousins said. “I mean, they’re gonna say what they have to say. They’re gonna add their opinions. We’re the most hated team in sports.”

He added: “I would say the Warriors are for sure [the most hated team]. You know they hate Kevin [Durant]. They hate me. I think the only guy they really like is Stephen [Curry]. Actually, they may hate him, as well. They hate Draymond Green. But I mean, it is what it is. I can’t worry about that.”

In Boston, Kyrie Irving hit a foul-line fadeaway to give Boston the lead, then made a 31-foot three-pointer to finish with 27 points and lead the Celtics past Toronto. Returning after missing the last game with a bruised right leg, Irving had 10 points and six of his career-high 18 assist in the fourth quarter including passes to set up Boston’s last three baskets in a game-ending 17-4 run. Al Horford scored 24 points to help Boston rebound from three straight road losses.

Irving has clashed with some of his teammates in recent weeks, as the Celtics have struggled with form. He told ESPN that it led him to calling LeBron James to say sorry for his behaviour during their time together in Cleveland, when James criticised his younger teammates.

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“Obviously, this was a big deal for me, because I had to call [James] and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips, and I wanted everything at my threshold,” Irving said. “I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people.

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