JUNE 15, 8:49am: Harden has been upgraded from “out” to “doubtful” for Game 5, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The Nets’ star still seems unlikely to play on Tuesday, but the team is now at least leaving the door open to the possibility.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter), Harden intends to test his hamstring during today’s shootaround in the hopes of receiving medical clearance.
JUNE 14, 4:19pm: All-Star Nets guard James Harden will join Kyrie Irving on the sidelines for Game 5 of Brooklyn’s second-round series against the Bucks, writes Malika Andrews of ESPN. Harden has missed all but 43 seconds of the series with a right hamstring strain, which he initially suffered late in the regular season. Head coach Steve Nash had told reporters earlier today that Harden was “working out.”
Irving sprained his right ankle in the Nets’ Game 4 loss on Sunday, and will miss at least Game 5. Though the point guard underwent an MRI today, the club didn’t provide an estimate for his recovery or return.
As Andrews notes, this will leave just forward Kevin Durant available among the Nets’ three All-Stars when the series returns to Brooklyn on Tuesday. The Bucks have rallied back to tie up the series at 2-2.
With both Harden and Irving out to start the second half of Game 4 on Sunday, Nash started point guard Mike James and forward Jeff Green alongside incumbent starters Durant, Joe Harris and Blake Griffin.
Across the six playoff games he was available for Brooklyn this season, Harden averaged 23.2 PPG, 8.8 APG, 6.2 RPG, 1.7 SPG and 0.8 BPG, while sporting a slash line of .556/.475/.909.