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Nets, James Harden, Kyrie Irving

4 reasons the Nets can overcome injuries to James Harden, Kyrie Irving

The Brooklyn Nets suffered a major setback in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks. Not only did they lose the game but Kyrie Irving also suffered an injury, which does not look good at all. Irving’s status for Game 5 remains uncertain. Head coach Steve Nash has said that this won’t affect James Harden in his recovery. 

So now, the Nets find themselves in a whole different situation. Not only is the series tied (it looked practically over after Game 2), but there’s a good chance that Irving and Harden will be wearing street clothes during Game 4.

So how do the Nets find a way to maintain an edge? Here are four reasons they can still compete against the Bucks. 

Nets must maintain defensive composure

As soon as Irving went down, the Bucks were in cruise control of the whole game. That’s usually because they don’t have the anxiety defensively when Irving isn’t around so they got stops and had offensive momentum. This was also when their shots started to fall and it helped that there was room for error. The Bucks also managed to outscore the Nets in transition 26-6 in Game 4. 

The Nets will significantly miss Irving’s defense but they can still keep up with their intensity. They’re not really well known for their defense but they’re also not that bad either. Griffin can still find a way to outhustle everyone in the frontcourt while Joe Harris, Nicolas Claxton, Jeff Green and the rest have to play the best defensive games of their lives. 

Nets still have Kevin Durant

Dubbed the greatest scorer of all time, now is the time for Kevin Durant to go nuclear. His team needs him even more now that his co-superstars might not be able to suit up. Durant will have to give his team at least more than 35 points if the Nets want a fighting chance. Even if Bucks forward PJ Tucker has pestered him throughout the series, Durant has the ability to score on anyone. 

Expect Durant to also play a lot of minutes. This isn’t idle especially coming off the worst injury in sports but the Nets might need him to. It’s going to be interesting to see how Nash adjusts his system. Will Durant be the center of the offense? If that’s the case then this is also an opportunity for the role players to step up and knock down some shots. 

Role players for the Nets must play beyond their roles

Similar to what the Los Angeles Lakers did with their star players out throughout the season, the Nets’ role players have to play beyond what is required of them. That means finding ways to score more and perhaps play better defense. Griffin for one can play like he did in the first game of this series where he scored 18 points along with 14 rebounds. The big question is can they remove the scoring load off Durant? 

Home-court advantage

The Nets still have home court advantage on their side this series, thanks to the dominance performance of their superstars during the regular season. They’re currently undefeated on their home floor and practically blew out the Bucks in their first two meetings. Sure, that was when Irving played but playing on their home floor has its perks. Role players shoot better, the team itself is more comfortable and of course, the crowd is on their side. This is still a big but yet underrated factor in this year’s playoffs. 

If Irving and Harden are indeed out for the rest of the series, it’s going to be tough for the Nets to pull through. But they can still find a way. They do, after all, have the best scorer and arguably player in the world today. So many crazy things have happened in the playoffs so it’s not certain yet that the Bucks have this one in the bag.

The Nets can still put up a fight.