The Brooklyn Nets had won 14 of their last 15 games before Friday’s loss to the Magic in Orlando. On Sunday, they looked to begin a new streak as they hosted the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center.
The absolute last thing the Nets can afford as they aim to keep winning is a significant injury to James Harden. In that regard, they appeared to dodge a bullet on Sunday.
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Harden Overcomes Health Scare
Toward the end of the second quarter against the Wizards, Harden went to corral a loose ball — but so did a diving Garrison Matthews. The Wizards forward collided with Harden, his left shoulder catching the right side of Harden’s face. Harden fell backward and immediately grimaced before grabbing his face and the back of his neck.
The Nets star then stayed down on the court as Nets Head athletic trainer Sebastien Poirier tended to him.
“Of course anything around the head area, you’re always going to be super careful with and pay close attention to,” YES Network play-by-play commentator Ryan Ruocco said on the game’s broadcast. “And the Nets training staff will do that.”
Added YES Network color analyst Sarah Kustok: “You see him (Harden) continuing to try to work and move his neck. He had his eyes closed for a significant period of time before he finally got up. Certainly hope that he’s OK.”
Harden then slowly and gingerly walked back to the locker room at halftime, per ESPN’s Malika Andrews. Most of the team stayed out on the court with him as he sat at center court getting his head and neck looked at by medical staff. Eventually, he walked back without assistance while rubbing his neck.
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Harden Just Fine
Harden has suffered concussions before, most notably in 2012 by former Lakers forward Metta World Peace, whose vicious elbow against Harden earned him a seven-game suspension by the NBA.
The Beard appeared to have avoided one this time, though.
Nets fans were not left hanging in suspense for long, as Harden was on the court getting loose ahead of the start of the third quarter before starting the second half for Brooklyn, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic.
Then he did this to Matthews and erased any lingering doubt.
Harden finished with 26 points (on 10-of-23 shooting), five rebounds, eight assists and three steals while playing a team-high 39 minutes and leading the Nets to a 113-106 over the Wizards. As the game ended, Harden was showered with “MVP!” chants from the Barclays Center crowd again, per Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.
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