The last week has seen the Brooklyn Nets‘ NBA Title chances plunge. After blowing out the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2, the team lost a slugfest in Milwaukee in Game 3, and in the first half of Game 4, Kyrie Irving went down with a sprained ankle, sidelining him along with James Harden.
Harden went out in the first minute of Game 1 against Giannis Antetoukounmpo and company. Kevin Durant and Irving, along with the team’s solid supporting cast, were enough to win comfortably that night, and decimate Milwaukee in Game 2 by 39 points, but the tide has shifted, especially if it becomes KD and a bunch of role players from here on out.
The Nets have made it clear that they aren’t going to put their star players in harm’s way or increased risk of significant injury. Still, there might be some very slight good news on the Harden end of the equation. After ruling the former MVP out for Game 5 on Monday, now things have slightly changed.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Harden has been upgraded to doubtful just under 12 hours before tip-off. It is unclear if there is a realistic pathway to him playing in Game 5 tonight at the Barclays Center, but it is something. In any case, it seems like there’s a real chance that he returns by the end of the series, if the Nets can stay alive.
Nets have upgraded James Harden to doubtful for Game 5.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 15, 2021
During the regular season, the Brooklyn Nets struggled to keep all three of their superstars healthy at the same time. For long stretches, Durant and Irving were out, while the newly acquired James Harden led the way and the team thrived with him.
The team may not even need all three of them to take home a championship, but it is hard to see them doing so with just one healthy, as great as Kevin Durant is as a historically talented offensive weapon.
Game 5 tips off tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.