The Brooklyn Nets are taking on LeBron James and the Lakers at the Barclays Center. It’s a matchup between one of the best teams in the East and who many thought would be the top team in the West. However, out of Brooklyn’s Big Three, James Harden is the only one that’s available to play.
Kevin Durant sprained his MCL on Jan. 15 and is out for four-to-six weeks. Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status prevents him from playing in home games for the Nets. After Durant’s injury, Irving said that he was standing firm on his stance to remain unvaccinated, so there’s no sudden relief in sight for Harden.
Hours before the Nets and Lakers tipped off, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer posted an article detailing reasons why Harden would be open to leaving the Nets this summer.
One of those reasons included Irving’s part-time status, on top of KD’s injury. Harden’s been left “to shoulder the majority of the offensive burden during Brooklyn home games.”
And in the first half of Tuesday’s game against Los Angeles, Harden somehow went beyond shouldering the majority of the load for the Nets.
James Harden has no choice but to take over for the Brooklyn Nets.
Harden finished the first half with a game-high 22 points (9-of-18), seven rebounds, and five assists. The team’s second-leading scorer behind Harden is LaMarcus Aldridge, who has nine points.
If Fischer’s sources are right and Harden is dissatisfied with the workload that he’s taken on in Irving’s absence, this game isn’t doing the organization any favors.
Outside of Harden, Brooklyn doesn’t have an answer on offense. It’s more so a game between Harden and the Lakers.
If Harden truly isn’t happy with his workload, perhaps this game best illustrates his frustrations. Durant can’t change the fact that he’s out with an injury but Irving could receive the COVID-19 vaccine, although that’s his decision to make.
Until then, the Nets are going to have to navigate home games without two of their star players. That’s not an ideal situation, considering that Brooklyn’s 12-11 in games played at Barclays Center. For whatever reason, the Nets don’t play well at home.
Hopefully, someone steps up to assist Harden on the offensive end in the second half. Brooklyn is down by nine, 62-53, and won’t be able to win this game with Harden alone.