The Brooklyn Nets looked every bit the part of a championship contender in Game 1. But with James Harden’s hamstring acting up again, the sheen could fade soon enough.
Nets star Kyrie Irving spoke out on The Beard’s injury following the win:
“We’re gonna feel his loss no matter what”
Kyrie Irving discusses his emotions regarding James Harden’s injury: pic.twitter.com/CQvO13EyqS
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) June 6, 2021
Despite the Nets having the necessary firepower to compete, they’re just not the same with James Harden. The former MVP was the straw that stirred the drink for Brooklyn. He averaged 10.9 assists in 36 games played for the Nets, serving as the distributing hub that made plays for others.
Harden had missed 18 games for the Nets this season due to a similar strain on his hamstring.
The Nets didn’t skip a beat though after James Harden’s early exit not even a minute into the contest. They flexed their depth as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving had relatively pedestrian showings, neither of them scoring 30 points. But thanks to guys like Blake Griffin, Joe Harris, and even Mike James off the bench stepping up, they were able to weather the Harden-less storm.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, on the other hand, didn’t have the same luck. The Bucks star scored 34 points on a monstrous 16-for-24 shooting clip, but he got subpar performances from Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton.
The Nets may have gotten lucky that Milwaukee’s secondary stars had off nights. But if they’re firing on all cylinders, they might be missing James Harden sooner rather than later. We’ll find out in Game 2.