The Brooklyn Nets may need another all-time outing from Kevin Durant on Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks if they’re going to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Steve Nash just gave an update on his two banged up other stars—James Harden and Kyrie Irving—and it sounds like the Nets are going to need to grind this one out.
James Harden, who went down in the first minute of Game 1 with a hamstring injury, returned for Game 5. He was mostly a decoy that night, as Kevin Durant went bonkers for 49 points in the dramatic come-from-behind win. Harden was more active in Game 6, scoring 16 points, but he is still pretty limited overall.
Kyrie remains out after suffering a bad-looking ankle sprain suffered during Game 4 of this series. It is unclear when he may be able to return in the postseason, but now we know it will be next round at the earliest, barring some remarkable Harden-like turnaround on Saturday. Don’t expect that to happen twice in one series for the Nets.
Today, Nash ruled Kyrie Irving out for Game 7. He also says that Harden will be available again, but admits that he isn’t able to push the ball the way he normally can, when at his healthy, MVP form.
Kyrie Irving remains out for Nets-Bucks Game 7 on Saturday, Steve Nash says. Nash says Irving still has some "miles to make up."
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) June 18, 2021
Steve Nash also says,
“James (Harden) is not at 100%. He’s got to protect himself — He’s not going to be able to push the ball in transition.”
— Ajayi Browne (@ajayibrowne) June 18, 2021
On the bright side for Kyrie Irving, Nash said the current injury is “not a season-ending situation,” and that he believes he’ll be able to return later in the postseason, provided the Brooklyn Nets advance.
If at 100-percent, it is hard to see the Nets falling in a seven-game series with the Durant/Irving/Harden triad firing on all cylinders. They’re going to have to really earn it on Saturday in their current form though, against a Milwaukee Bucks team that is highly motivated to make a deep run after years of early playoff flame outs.
Game 7 in Brooklyn tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night.