Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden did not play in the 124-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night because of left hamstring tightness.
Harden, who is averaging 37 minutes a match this season, was a late scratch a night after racking up a triple-double in Tuesday’s 106-96 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Coach Steve Nash stated after the game that he was “hopeful” Harden will play versus the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. He called Harden’s hamstring injury “day-to-day.”
Prior to the game, Nash acknowledged how tough it is to manage Harden’s minutes as the team continues to play without stars Kevin Durant (sprained MCL) and Kyrie Irving. Irving is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and cannot play in home games because of a New York City vaccination mandate.
“It is a challenge,” Nash said. “We would like to protect him more. But he’s a competitor and wants to be out there so we try to have our little tug of war and I think that’s why at times we’d like to ask him to miss games so that he can regenerate and be a little bit safer as far as being ready to go when the playoffs begin.”
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Harden expressed frustration after Tuesday’s loss, saying in part that he thinks the Nets should have a better record than the 29-18 record they came into Wednesday’s game with.
“Of course I’m frustrated because we’re not healthy,” Harden said after Tuesday’s game. “There’s a lot of inconsistency for whatever reason.
Injuries, COVID, whatever you want to call it. But yeah, it’s frustrating. I think everybody in this organization is frustrated because we are better than what our record is and we should be on the way up.”
Nash believes that despite Harden’s frustration, he remains “happy” as a Net.
“I think James is happy to be here,” Nash said. “I just think it’s frustrating right now because we haven’t played great basketball, we’ve had a lot of injuries, we’ve had a lot of illness.
A lot of guys in and out of the lineup. A lot of chop and change so that can be frustrating for sure to not have that kind of consistency to build on. And we haven’t had our best performances.
“We’ve had a few — but ever since the COVID return it’s been, lets say, average basketball overall. So we have higher expectations and it’s frustrating, but I think James is happy here for sure.”
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