Injury Update: Will James Harden Play for the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 Against the Bucks?

Published 06/09/2021, 9:36 PM 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


The Brooklyn Nets, in their last two games, proved that they were well off without James Harden, at least against the Bucks. With Blake Griffin enjoying a rebirth of sorts, the Nets are not short of talent and can afford to rest a man or two if they want. There might not be any other team in the league right now that can afford this luxury. 

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But by now, Mike Budenholzer and Giannis Antetokounmpo must’ve ideally worked out a strategy to check Kyrie Irving and limit Kevin Durant. If that’s the case, the Nets will need James to wind up the series in four games. So is The Beard coming back?

The James Harden injury update is saddening for Brooklyn Nets fans

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The latest news on the 9x NBA All-Star confirmed that he will miss Game 3 because of the hamstring issue. He will require some more rest before hitting the floor and playing one-on-one against the big Bucks. 

 

The 2018 MVP has had his right hamstring troubling him for quite a while now. Fortunately for him, he could play against the Celtics to gain some rhythm as he averaged 23.2 in that series. But missing out on three games would mean his return will give him restricted minutes on the floor. 

Without Harden, the Nets must take a hit on the shooting attempts but that did not seem to be the case in Game 2. In that 125-86 blowout win, the Nets shot 21/42 from the long-range, and Kyrie handled much of James’ playmaking. Still, the Nets would like The Beard to play Game 4 so he’s ready for the big battles ahead.

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Can the Bucks take advantage of the Beard’s absence?

In the regular season 2020-21, the Bucks were 2-1 against the Nets, and that one loss was also a very close 2-point loss. Notably, Harden had a 34-point double-double in that particular game. Later, the Bucks had won both the games where The Beard was missing even though Ky and Durant had produced impressive performances. In those two games, The Greek Freak had 49 points and 36 points respectively to shut down the Nets.

Jun 5, 2021; Blake Griffin against Bobby Portis as Giannis Antetokounmpo looks on during game one in the EC semifinals at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

If Giannis can get his act straight with his team supporting him with spacing, the Bucks have a shot. So if they could somehow stick to that regular-season strategy, the Nets can finally start missing Harden. But that would require a brave play from Donte DiVincenzo, a defensive doze from Jrue Holiday, a shooting consistency from Khris Middleton, and a role-play from Bryn Forbes.

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Watch this story – Injuries That James Harden Has Powered Through Over His Career

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Sourabh Singh

1606 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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