NEW YORK, NY – Even though James Harden's jumpers weren't falling, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson wanted to make sure his players kept defending them.
So he held up a sign with a picture of former Orlando Magic player Dennis Scott, wearing his No. 3 uniform, with a red line crossing through it.
The message came through loud and clear.
"It was a ridiculous sign," center Jarrett Allen said, "but it made us look and it worked."
Taurean Prince had 27 points and 12 rebounds, and the Nets slowed down 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 in the face of an improved Nets defense — and Atkinson's unusual sign.
"It's just a defensive coverage we have and we've had trouble communicating it to the guys in the past, so we came up with this idea to find a way to communicate so everyone knows," Atkinson said. "Sometimes if you use humor in things it sinks in a little more with the guys."
Harden, the NBA's leading scorer last season, fell to 14 for 70 from behind the arc this season.