The Nets will be understandably worried after Game 1 of their eastern conference semifinals, because James Harden played in only 43 seconds of the game before leaving with a hamstring injury.
That deflating early injury could be backbreaking to a team’s morale. However, Brooklyn didn’t falter and blew open the game in the third quarter to take an important 115-107 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving got a lot of help on the way to the W.
Durant had 29 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and 2 blocks, while Irving had 25 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, a steal and a block. Joe Harris chipped in 19 points as well, and Blake Griffin turned back the clock a little bit with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 3 assists.
Giannis Antetokounmpo tried his best to keep things close, but his 34 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and two blocks was not matched well by Khris Middleton or Jrue Holiday.
Middleton had 13 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists but he had a horrible shooting night and went 6 of 23 from the field while missing all of his threes. Holiday had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists but also struggled from deep, shooting 2 of 7.
The Bucks, as a team, shot 6 of 30 from the three point line, and that is certainly not going to be good enough against the Nets.
Milwaukee has a couple of days to regroup and figure things out, but they were undone by their terrible shooting today. They’ll also rue the fact that they couldn’t steal a win in Brooklyn while Harden wasn’t on the floor.
Hopefully, James Harden is all right. He missed 21 games with a hamstring injury during the regular season, and it would be a shame for it to take him out of this year’s playoffs. He’s not the first start to deal with a serious problem in these playoffs.