The Nets were playing without two of their three main stars, but Harden was more than up for the challenge against the Suns. Kevin Durant was out with a hamstring injury while Kyrie Irving was held out with lower back tightness.
Harden’s 3-pointer from a few feet beyond the arc with 31 seconds left gave the Nets their first lead of the game at 126-124 and he hit two more free throws with 11.3 seconds remaining to polish off the win. The Suns didn’t score over the final 2:48 of the game.
Brooklyn won its fourth straight game in a triumphant return to Phoenix for coach Steve Nash. The Suns had their six-game winning streak snapped.
Chris Paul scored 29 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough for the Suns. Devin Booker added 22.
Phoenix jumped out a 33-22 lead in the first quarter after shooting 56.5% from the field. The Suns were even better in the second, pouring in 42 points to grab a 75-54 halftime lead.
Brooklyn sliced Phoenix’s lead to 100-88 by the end of the third quarter. The Nets would pull within 108-106 midway through the fourth after a corner 3-pointer from Tyler Johnson but the Suns responded with a dunk from Deandre Ayton and a 3 from Mikal Bridges and it looked like they would regain control.
But the Nets had one more run. James Harden sliced through the Suns’ defense to pull Brooklyn within 124-121 with 1:39 left. Jeff Green’s layup with 59 seconds made it 124-123. That set up Harden’s decisive 3-pointer on the next possession.