James Harden believes "being aggressive the entire game" was key for his starring role as the Brooklyn Nets held off the New York Knicks on Tuesday.
The Nets went down 107-113 to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday but bounced back with a tight 112-110 victory over the Knicks at the Barclays Center.
Harden struggled in the defeat to the Suns, converting just four of 16 attempted field goals, while registering seven turnovers and going none-for-six from three-point range.
However, the 2018 MVP recovered by delivering his third 30-point game of the season – finishing with 34 – as he recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds, eight assists and three steals.
The 32-year-old, who has had to deal with lingering hamstring strains since last season, credited a pre-game talk with Hall of Famer Reggie Miller for his dominant performance.
"Reggie's the one that got me going," Harden told reporters at the post-game news conference. "Ultimate confidence, ultimate 'best player in the league'-type vibe.
"That mindset. He just hit me with some good motivation before the game – something I needed."
Brooklyn coach Steve Nash called for Harden to adopt an attacking mindset all the time prior to the meeting with the Knicks and was subsequently granted his wish.
Asked what had changed for Harden to dominate, the shooting guard responded: "Yeah, just being aggressive. Being aggressive. That's the only thing every night is my aggressiveness. I've just got to continue that.
"Just not thinking about anything but being aggressive the entire game. The second half was a little different, but we had guys get going.
"Patty [Mills] started that second half off hot, Kevin [Durant] got going a little bit, so I was just aggressive. That's the mindset for four quarters."
JAAAAAMES pic.twitter.com/vBfBMHfou6— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 1, 2021
Durant also chipped in with 27 points, 21 of those coming in the second half, and nine assists while crucially finding an open lane for James Johnson, whose last-gasp free throws secured the decisive two-point lead.
Durant's late show rallied the Nets to victory and the 33-year-old insisted he wants to play every available minute for Nash's side.
"I want to play for 48 minutes," Durant said. "That's just what it is. And I know a lot of people — I don't even know if they're concerned or not.
"It's just a conversation to have. I'm playing more minutes and I'm coming off an injury and all this other stuff, but I like to play, and if I can convince coach to play me the whole second half sometimes and put me in earlier in quarters, I'm going to do it.
"It doesn't matter. My basketball life is not that long, so I'm going to get the most out of it."