brooklyn nets
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets are down to one superstar after injuries to James Harden and Kyrie Irving against the Bucks.

The Brooklyn Nets have their backs up against the wall after dropping two games in Milwaukee to the Bucks. In fact, Brooklyn is now considered the underdog in this series on most sportsbooks in the country. That’s what happens where there is so much uncertainty surrounding who will be in and out of the lineup.

James Harden was lost to a hamstring strain 43 seconds into the series. The Nets were able to rebound with two wins at home with big contributions from Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

But now Irving is out with a sprained ankle, leaving Durant as the lone superstar in the lineup. Nets coach Steve Nash offered updates on Harden and Irving during his media availability on Monday afternoon. The news was not encouraging for Nets fans. Irving is out while Harden is a mystery.

The Problem With Big 3s

Injuries can kill any team’s hopes for a championship, but that goes double for top-heavy teams like the Nets. Role players like Joe Harris, Bruce Brown, and Blake Griffin are tailor-made for their roles around the big stars.

Losing both Irving and Harden means there is even more pressure on the role players to take on more responsibility. We’ve seen these guys struggle to pick up the slack in big moments.

Brown’s misses towards the end of Game 3 doomed the Nets to a brutal loss that may have served as a turning point in this series. Harris struggling to knock down threes, only hitting three of his 13 attempts in Games 3 and 4.

The good news for the Nets is that non-stars tend to play better at home in playoff series. The Nets are essentially in a three-game series against the Bucks with two games at home.

It’s Kevin Durant’s Time

As much as the role players need to step up, this is Kevin Durant’s team. Brooklyn desperately needs a vintage Durant performance in the playoffs. We all know he is capable of exploding for 40+ points in a statement Game 5 win, but he is in unprecedented territory.

Durant is the lone star. Of course, Durant was part of a super team in Golden State with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. But even back in his days with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he had Russell Westbrook. to help shoulder the load.

Now, it’s Durant against the world. Well, maybe not the “world” but he’s staring down Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and the rest of the Bucks.

All season long, health was a major question for these Nets and their one kryptonite is coming back to bite them. Don’t count them out yet because Durant is still capable of leading the Nets to a win over Milwaukee in this series, but it won’t be easy.