Harden, Durant star as Nets edge Bucks 125-123

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Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots over Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

NEW YORK – James Harden missed a jumper with a chance for the lead, tracked down the rebound and fired it out to a wide-open Kevin Durant.

Plays like that are why the Brooklyn Nets will be such tough opponents after reuniting the multi-time scoring champions. Even when teams stop one superstar, another might be there waiting.

“This is what they do. They wake up, come to the game and they score 30,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “If you’re not aggressive and you’re not locked in against them, they’re going to score 50.”

Durant made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 36 seconds left, Harden had 34 points and 12 assists, and the Nets edged the Bucks 125-123 on Monday night. They are 2-0 since last week's acquisition of Harden, who is averaging 33 points and 13 assists in his new uniform.

“We’re still trying to find our way and we’ve still got room to improve, but it’s a solid start,” Durant said.

Durant finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists to give the Nets their fourth straight victory in a game in which two of the East's best went toe-to-toe right down to a tense finish that ended when Khris Middleton missed a potential winning 3-pointer from the corner.

“It’s a huge win for us,” Harden said. “This is our second game together and we haven’t had one practice.”

Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Milwaukee, which had its four-game winning streak stopped. Middleton added 25 points and Jrue Holiday had 22.