James Harden could make his return to the court on Friday from a hamstring injury that has had him out since April 5. Harden will be a game-time decision against the Spurs, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews of ESPN.
Harden is expected to gauge his readiness along with team officials ahead of the Nets’ return to Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday, sources said…
Harden, who was traveling with the team on its five-game road trip that concluded with a win Tuesday in Chicago, has been scrimmaging and has been responding well to the increased workload.
Harden averaged 25.4 points, 11 assists, and 8.7 rebounds a game in the 34 games he played since coming to Brooklyn in a blockbuster mid-season trade. The offense clicked because Irving turned over playmaking duties to Harden, who served as the facilitator. With Harden sidelined the last five weeks, the Brooklyn offense has seen more isolation and less ball movement; there has been a “your turn/my turn” feel to the Nets.
The Nets’ big three of Harden, Irving, and Kevin Durant have played in just seven games together this season. The hope had been that if Harden could return for the final few games of the regular season — Brooklyn has three games left — the trio could get a little more time together under its belt. Now that may depend on Irving’s condition.
When the three of them have been on the court together this season, the Nets have a +13.1 net rating.
The Nets will have nearly a week off between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs to get healthy and get in some practice time before the first round starts. At 45-24, Brooklyn sits as the No. 2 seed in the East, just one game ahead of Milwaukee, which has the tiebreaker.