James Harden has reiterated patience is required for him to return to his point-scoring best despite a season-high 29 points in the Brooklyn Nets' 105-98 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday.
Harden had only averaged 16.6 points across the first five games of the new season as he struggled in his recovery from a hamstring injury as well as adapting to the NBA's new officiating rules which have impacted his ability to draw fouls.
The 32-year-old guard had a season-high 20 points in those five games but he blew that out of the water with 21 by half-time in Friday's win over the Pacers.
Harden finished with 29 points, including three from six from beyond the arc and 16 points from the free-throw line.
"It wasn't 30, obviously," Harden said during a post-game news conference. "I keep saying it - every single game, I feel good, I feel better today, I continue to work on off days and non-game days, and on game days continue to be aggressive, get to the basket and shoot my shots.
"Nothing's gonna change. Eventually things are gonna happen where it's consistent and I'm up there playing like myself."
Harden's 19 free-throw attempts were the most he has had since moving to the Nets and usurped his season total in one game.
"It was just me being aggressive," Harden said. "The first couple of games I wasn't aggressive. I was aggressive in spurts, but just trying to be aggressive for four quarters.
"I had that burst, that speed of getting to my spots, whether I was getting to the basket or shooting my shots. I felt pretty good out there for an entire game."
Harden and Kevin Durant combined for 39 points in the first half, which is the most together since becoming team-mates after the former's trade from the Houston Rockets in January.
Durant finished with 22 points, along with 11 rebounds and seven assists, with LaMarcus Aldridge reached 20,000 career NBA points with his 21 off the bench.
Aldridge had joined the Nets in March but retired in April after citing health concerns from an irregular heartbeat before he received medical clearance to return this season.
"It feels good, man," Aldridge said. "A true blessing. Definitely didn't think it was going to happen after what happened last year.
"Stuck with it, fall back and definitely felt good to get it done and be back out there. Just feel blessed."