Although Kyrie Irving’s back with the Brooklyn Nets, his vaccination status prohibits him from playing in games at Barclays Center. And on a night where the Nets are facing the Bucks in Brooklyn, the team needed both Kevin Durant and James Harden to come out hot.
However, Harden didn’t get the memo. The Nets were down 29-21 at the end of the first quarter, and Harden had zero points (0-of-3) while Durant had eight. Honestly, it felt like at that point, Brooklyn should’ve been down by more.
We all know that KD’s capable of mounting a fourth-quarter comeback if the game versus Milwaukee comes to that, but he shouldn’t have to do that as often as he’s done it this season. The Nets need the same version of Harden that led Brooklyn in Los Angeles whenever he scored 36 points versus the Lakers and 39 against the Clippers.
At the half against the Bucks, Harden has 6 points (2-of-10 from the field, 0-of-1 from the 3-point line), seven rebounds, three assists, and two turnovers.
The Brooklyn Nets need James Harden to show up versus the Bucks.
The Nets are 10-9 in games played at home this year, and if things don’t begin to look up in the second half versus Milwaukee, Brooklyn’s going to fall to 10-10.
The Nets now get to have Irving on the court during road games, but honestly, they need him more in games played in Brooklyn.
The first half of the regular season has been rocky for Harden, but in games where Irving isn’t available, he’s going to have to do more for the Nets. He’s struggled at facilitating the offense as the point guard, but that doesn’t make sense because he established himself in that same role in Houston.
Harden’s inconsistency this year has been a huge concern. Brooklyn can’t continue to turn to Durant as much as it has. After all, Harden and KD’s high workload was part of the reason why Sean Marks and the Nets decided to allow Irving to return to the team.
Unless Harden has a remarkable return after the half, Brooklyn’s going to likely once again fall to a playoff-level team. Durant leads the Nets with 19 points, and although Giannis Antetokounmpo only played in 11 minutes due to having three fouls, the Bucks still have an 11-point lead, 60-49.
Please, Harden, redeem yourself. Your team needs you.