How hard will it be without Harden?

Mar 31, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets shooting guard James Harden (13) warms up before the game against the Houston Rockets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks met in the first game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and the host won with 115 to 107. These are some of the best teams in the NBA, so I’m expecting a big fight in this series.

The Nets have a big three, with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden leading the team, while the Bucks have Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2-times MVP, and a much better defense than in the last seasons.

Although they won, the Brooklyn Nets have a big reason to worry. After playing just 43 seconds, Harden got injured and had to leave the game. He will have an MRI on his right hamstring, and we’ll see if he can continue the series.

Without James Harden, the Nets will have a tough job against the Bucks. Last night, Durant played 40 minutes, Irving spent 44 minutes on the court, while Joe Harris, Blake Griffin, and Mike James all had more than 30 minutes of playing. On the other side, Antetokounmpo, Middleton, and Holiday all played for less than 37 minutes.

The Brooklyn Nets risked it all, formed a big three, but without Harden, the chances to win a title are much smaller. Maybe Blake Griffin and Joe Harris can keep their game at a high level in this series, but I’m not so sure that they can win it all.