NEW YORK — Taurean Prince had 27 points and 12 rebounds and the Brooklyn Nets slowed down James Harden and the Houston Rockets in a 123-116 victory Friday night.
Two nights after scoring a franchise-record 159 points in a victory at Washington, the Rockets couldn’t get nearly enough shots to drop after opening an early 15-point lead. They went 12 for 48 from 3-point range, with Harden a dismal 2 for 16.
Harden finished with 36 points and eight assists, but he was 10 for 31 from the field. Russell Westbrook added 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Stopping the 3 was clearly an emphasis for the Nets: Coach Kenny Atkinson held up a sign of former Orlando Magic player Dennis Scott, wearing his No. 3 uniform, with a red line crossing through it.
Neither Harden nor Kyrie Irving was at his best in a matchup of the NBA’s two leading scorers.
Harden came in leading the league with 36.8 points per game, and scored 59 in the Washington outburst. Irving came in at 35.3 per game and had scored at least 26 in all four games, and finished with 22 points on 7-for-18 shooting with 10 assists.
The Nets didn’t need a big scoring performance from him in a well-balanced effort. Caris LeVert scored 25 points, Garrett Temple had 16 and Joe Harris 15.
Houston led 45-30 early in the second quarter, but LeVert scored 12 points in the period to send the Nets into halftime with a 61-59 lead.
Prince hit two 3-pointers during his run of eight straight points for Brooklyn that extended the lead to 85-73, and the Nets were still up 12 after three.
Westbrook had three baskets early in the fourth as Houston climbed within eight, but then he checked out for a few minutes when Harden came back on, and the Rockets’ push fizzled.