james harden
via Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets lost James Harden in the first minute of Game 1. He came up lame after making a jump pass to the corner.

This is not good for the Brooklyn Nets. James Harden is the lynchpin for this team, but they won’t have him for the remainder of Game 1 and possibly longer. He left the arena for an MRI, which obviously doesn’t bode well for the Nets.

Harden missed significant time down the stretch of the regular season with a right hamstring injury. This would be a significant loss for Brooklyn, but they still have enough firepower to win this game and the series.

Blake Griffin, Bruce Brown, and Mike James provided the energy in the first half while Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving shouldered the scoring load. Irving dropped 20 points on 16 shots and Durant tallied 12.

How Nets coach Steve Nash handles his rotations without Harden will be a major key for the Nets in this series. Generally, Nash will play Durant and Irving the entire first quarter with Harden starting the second quarter as the lone star. Durant and Irving sat out a combined four minutes in the first half of Game 1.

Brooklyn leads the Bucks 63-61 at halftime despite Harden’s absence. The Nets are having trouble containing Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has 19 points on 14 shots. The two-time MVP’s athleticism is giving Nets defenders fits. Figuring out how to slow him down is going to be the biggest challenge of the series for Nash and the Nets. It’s going to be even tougher if they don’t have Harden.

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