Brooklyn Nets All-Star James Harden was active on Wednesday for the first time since April 5. After missing more than a month of playing time, the longest layoff of his career, Harden seems to not have missed a beat. He finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 11 assists in his long-awaited return. The Nets coasted to a 128-116 victory over DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs.
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Twitter Accuses James Harden of Playing Dirty
As with every step forward the Nets have taken this season, it did not come without some controversy. Late in the game, Spurs guard Dejounte Murray was attempting to catch a cross-court pass at half court and landed on Harden’s foot and tripped. From the looks of the replay, it appears that Harden slightly sticks his foot out as Murray is trying to land, though it is hard to tell if it is intentional or not.
Twitter went off on Harden for the seemingly dirty play.
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Nash Is Learning To Take Necessary Risks With His Stars
There seemed to be a lot of skepticism from Nash and the Nets on if ‘The Beard’ would suit up for the team before the playoffs began after suffering a setback in his injury recovery on April 21. Harden still is not 100% but Nash has reached the point where he has to learn to trust the word of his players as they head into the postseason.
“James wants to play, I think he wants to get his rhythm and kind of prepare for the playoffs,” Nash told reporters before Wednesday’s game against the Spurs via SNY. “For us we could go either way. We support him if he is cleared to play and wants to play but at the same time, we would be really happy if he waited if that’s the lowest risk.”
In a rare occurrence, KD suited up for the second night of a back-to-back, an indicator that he is nearing being back to 100% health. That’s if he has not reached it already. Durant missed 23 games earlier this year with a hamstring injury that he suffered during his return to Golden State on February 13. KD already played in the first game of the back-to-back on Tuesday against the Bulls so most did not expect him to suit up on Wednesday. Nash understood the great risk he was taking playing Durant, but ultimately it was one that was necessary.
“I’d be happy if he wanted to err on the side of caution, with Kevin we want to play and get his rhythm and continue to get back to his best and just feel pretty comfortable heading into the playoffs,” Nash continued. “So you try to find that balance between where the risk is, but also where they feel most confident in the playoffs. So it’s one of those things where you kind of take the leap of faith in what would make them feel the best, what would make them feel in rhythm and confident, and prepared.”
With just two games remaining for the Nets in the regular season, the team has a much-deserved rest coming up before the playoffs begin on May 22.