‘Can Not Just Show Up’: Charles Barkley Compares Brooklyn Nets’ James Harden’s Injury with Lakers’ Troubles

Published 06/06/2021, 12:23 AM EDT
May 2, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden stands on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports


Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving rose to the occasion in Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks at Barclays Center. With no James Harden in sight, the older Brooklyn Nets duo proved that they alone are capable of outcasting the best of the teams. But how did they enter one such situation in the first place?

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The Beard entered the game and stayed on the court for just 43 seconds before showing early signs of an injury. In a sequence, the star point guard went driving for a layup when he missed the attempt and signaled a right hamstring strain. The team immediately pulled him out, and he did not return for the rest of the game.

Charles Barkley in disappointment with James Harden

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May 30, 2021; Marcus Smart and James Harden reach for the ball during game four in the first round at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Beard played only 36 games for the Brooklyn Nets in the regular season. In hindsight, one would remember how James Harden had played for only four minutes against the Knicks before injuring himself on April 5.

Before that happened, he had already missed two games with the same issue and went on to miss 19 more games before the playoffs. 

In a recent interview, Charles Barkley noted this and compared Harden’s injury mismanagement with that of the Lakers’.

The NBA Hall of Famer expressed, “It’s the exact same situation as with the Lakers, with LeBron [James] and AD. You can not just show up for the playoffs. You have to play basketball to get in shape. [You] can go a stretch if you had leg injuries but the playoffs are grueling because you are playing every other day. And intensity, there’s nothing you can do sitting on the sidelines.”

Now, one can argue with The Big Chuck suggesting that the same man averaged 27.8 points, 7.2 rebs, 10.6 assists, 2 steals, and a block in Round 1. He tore apart the Celtics with his playmaking and two-way game, making a good case for his comeback.

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Can the Brooklyn Nets continue to win without The Beard?

In Game 1, the Nets’ starting five combined 91 points even as Harden went scoreless. Plus, they shot 15 three-pointers at 37.5% shooting against the Bucks’ 20%. The Nets were extremely efficient with their possessions and allowed the turnovers in single figure to further stab the Bucks.

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With Mike James upping his rotation game and Joe Harris handling the parameter, the Nets saw players taking one for the team. Also, Blake Griffin was a force that consumed the Bucks whole as the defenders in Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton had no business stopping him.

So, it is safe to suggest that even if James Harden takes a rest for the next game, the Nets are in safe hands against an offensively suffering Bucks.

So how do you see it? Can Giannis Antetokounmpo inspire his side after this forgetful loss where their last quarter heroics went in vain? Help us know in the comments.

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Sourabh Singh

1278 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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