James Harden’s injury forced him out of the game early, but the Nets still managed to win the first game 107-115.
The Brooklyn Nets point guard was only on the court for 43 seconds before he went to the locker room after injuring his right hamstring on a layup attempt.
A hamstring injury also forced Harden to miss 21 games in the regular season for the Nets. James Harden’s injury is worrying for the Nets and their championship ambitions.
It’s no secret how important he is to their offense, he is one of the best scorers of all time and one of the best playmakers in the league. The Nets’ all-time great offense isn’t all-time great without him.
Despite the Nets’ big three not playing many games together, in the games they did play, you could already see how much more dangerous Brooklyn looked with Harden at the point.
James Harden’s injury definitely has given the Bucks a big advantage.
He is averaging 27.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 10.6 assists so far in the playoffs. He had a good series against the Boston Celtics, and it would be a shame for him not to continue his playoff run.
Although we will have to wait till the MRI scans that he went for during the game to see if he will miss the playoffs.
However, despite James Harden’s injury, the Nets’ offense definitely still dangerous.
What Went Wrong For the Bucks?
James Harden’s injury gave the Bucks a big advantage early in the game. The Nets did play well, but no one can really argue that Harden leaving the game made them didn’t make them a weaker team.
What went wrong for the Bucks was their three-point shooting. Maybe they had too long of a break after sweeping Miami. Whatever the reason was, the Bucks were terrible from beyond the arc.
It’s hard to imagine them shooting this bad in the upcoming games of the series. They ranked fifth in the league in three point percentage during the regular season.
They averaged 38.9% from beyond the arc. This game they shot 20%, making their lowest total of threes this whole season (6).
If the Bucks improve their shooting for the rest of the series, they could really give the Nets a tough series and go onto the Eastern Conference Finals.
There was some positives to take from the game for the Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo. He had 34 points whilst going 16-24 from the field.
He also played good defense as expected from the reigning Defensive player of the year. The Nets worked hard on defense, but it still looked like Antetokounmpo do what he does best in the paint.
Middleton finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds and shot 6-23 from the field. Holiday had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists whilst shooting 7-19 from the field.
How Did the Nets Win Despite James Harden’s Injury?
We’ve covered that the Bucks shot the ball terribly and that was a big difference maker. But the Nets deserve a lot of credit for still winning the game despite James Harden’s injury.
Kevin Durant finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds, whilst Kyrie Irving had 25 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists.
Every time the Bucks looked like they could possibly go on a run and make the game more competitive, Irving or Durant would get their team a bucket with ease.
We know what to expect from those two, they are superstars and all-time great scorers. Joe Harris also had a great game scoring 19 points, going 7-11 from the field and 5-9 from three.
However, one player who stepped up big and possibly surprised some NBA fans was Blake Griffin.
Griffin had 18 points and 14 rebounds. He was 7-13 from the field and made four three-pointers. He played with the most energy on the court, hustling for the ball and playing hard throughout the game.
Can the Nets expect similar output from Griffin after this game? Only time will tell. He looks like he is ready to play hard every night and he is a problem for the Bucks.
Despite James Harden’s injury Griffin came to play and brought the energy. After the game, he said: “In a way it prepares you, obviously you never want to lose a guy like James but like you said we’ve been in this situation unfortunately so I trust these guys, I trust everybody.
“We’ve had guys step up and make big plays, fill their rolls all season long.”
Game 2 on Monday looks set to be a great game as the Bucks can’t afford to gown 2-0. The Nets without Harden are still formidable and should put on a great game for the fans.
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