For the first time since he went down with a hamstring injury, the Brooklyn Nets looked like they could’ve really used James Harden on Thursday night. Brooklyn, one of the most devastating offensive teams in the NBA, was shut down in a slugfest of an 86-83 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3.
Brooklyn has been looking to get Harden back, but it is unclear when that may happen. Forward Jeff Green, who has also been out, may return for Game 4 on Sunday. That should give the Nets some extra help in defending Giannis Antetokounmpo and the talented Bucks frontcourt. He’s not the Harden-level talent that could swing a series, of course.
The Nets will be waiting at least a few more days to get him back, though. A day ahead of Game 4, head coach Steve Nash says that Harden is “progressing,” but will be out tomorrow.
Green, meanwhile, has been upgraded to questionable. We’ll see how many minutes he gets, and how that impacts the rotations that Nash has used, mostly to great effect, in this series.
James Harden remains out for Game 4 between the Nets and Bucks (Sunday on ABC), Steve Nash says. Harden is "progressing" Nash says.
Jeff Green has been upgraded to questionable for Game 4, Nash says.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) June 12, 2021
The Nets were up 83-80 late on the Bucks, until things got away from them in the game’s final minutes. Bruce Brown, not Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, took and missed two crucial shots in the Nets’ final three possessions of the game, and was beat by Jrue Holiday for what wound up being the difference in the game.
The Brooklyn Nets were absolutely dominant in the first two games of the series at Barclays Center, winning Game 1, which was not as close as the score would indicate, by eight, and Game 2 by 39. The Nets lead was as much as 49 late in the fourth quarter, to give you an idea of what a rout that one was.
The Bucks will need to steal one in Brooklyn to win the series, but if James Harden doesn’t return, there is definitely a glimmer of hope there. Game 4 in Milwaukee tips off at 3 p.m. ET.