Nets prove they’re still good enough to beat Bucks without James Harden

The Brooklyn Internet had the worst possible start to Video game 1 versus the Milwaukee Bucks. The Internet had actually a play called. Kevin Durant looked for James Harden, and Harden wasn’t where he was expected to be.

“I looked at him,” Durant stated. “He was grimacing.”

Harden left the video game 43 seconds into the very first quarter with an ideal hamstring concern, and TNT reported he left the arena for an MRI.

Considered that situation, the Internet had the very best possible surface to Video game 1, albeit with stress over Harden’s hamstring. Minus Harden, the Internet beat the Bucks 115-107 in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

“I was really impressed with our perseverance in what could have been an emotional toll on us,” Internet coach Steve Nash stated. “To get out of the first round and prepare for a few days for this series and have our lead playmaker go down in the first minute, that could derail a team. But our guys have been through this and they hung in there and their toughness was on display.”

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving did what they do: Durant had 29 points and 10 rebounds, and Irving scored 25 points and provided 8 helps.

Others contributed essential efficiencies in Harden’s lack. Blake Griffin had his finest video game because signing up with the Internet with 18 points, 14 rebounds, 3 helps and 2 takes, and Mike James, who simply 2 months ago bet Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow, had 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 helps.

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“We have the capability of rising to the occasion,” Irving stated. “We’re a very mature basketball club because we play selflessly and trust each other. Any situation in the game, I feel like we have the talent, we have preparation, we have the coaching staff to be able go to go out and execute. After that, its just mainly up to us to continue to play the right way.”

It ended up being an outstanding success, and the last margin doesn’t inform the story. Brooklyn turned an 86-80 lead late in the 3rd quarter into a 112-95 lead with 5:02 left in the 4th.

Brooklyn likewise sent out a message to Milwaukee: Without Harden, the Internet are still sufficient to beat the Bucks. That’s a mental obstacle Milwaukee requires to get rid of.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points for the Nets after James Harden left with a hamstring injury.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points for the Internet after James Harden left with a hamstring injury.

The result shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Internet played a number of video games without Harden and won this season. With Irving, Durant and Harden in and out of the lineup for different factors — they played simply 8 video games together throughout the routine season — Brooklyn utilized a franchise-record 38 various beginning lineups this season and unlimited other in-game mixes.

“We’ve had a lot thrown at us this year, so we were in a sense well-trained for this event,” Nash stated. “But you never want to see someone like James who is such an important player, such an incredible player and cares so much. I’m heartbroken for him.

“I don’t understand what’s going to occur. I don’t understand if he’s playing the next video game. I don’t understand if he’s out. I have no concept. This person was so prepared and thrilled to play. You understand the preparation he puts in, you understand just how much he appreciates the video game, just how much he appreciates the group. You never ever wish to see that — somebody who offers whatever they have towards this.”

Brooklyn’s performance does not alleviate the concern it has moving forward regarding Harden’s availability. The Nets might be able to win this series and even the next one. But it’s that much more difficult without him.

“It draws. It simply draws,” Durant said. “I desire him to be out there. I understand just how much he cares. I understand just how much he wishes to remain in this minute. Dream him a fast healing. We’re going to keep him included as much as possible. However it’s simply a bad break.”

The Bucks shot just 20% on 3-pointers (6-for-30), and Durant said, “I understand they’re not going to miss out on that lots of shots.”

Nash didn’t know the severity of Harden’s injury, but certified athletic trainer Jeff Stotts, who tracks player injuries in a database, tweeted, “He was going to be at an increased threat for reoccurrence for the rest of the season, specifically because he currently worsened the injury website throughout his preliminary rehabilitation. Information reveals the typical time lost boosts with each subsequent pressure.”

That could be bad news for the Nets and Harden, who missed 21 of the final 24 regular-season games with a strained hamstring.

“We’ll need to see how we go here and seeing the movie and having a look at our rotations and our choices,” Nash said, “and see what buttons we can press and stand firm.”

Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nets can beat Bucks even without injured James Harden

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.