Ailing contenders Nets, Nuggets to sq. off in Denver

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When the Brooklyn Nets acquired James Harden from Houston in mid-Janaury, the championship odds skewed of their route.

The brand new tremendous crew had Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Harden, a three-time NBA scoring champion, in spite of everything.

However with 5 video games left within the common season, Brooklyn hasn’t appeared like the favourite to win all of it. Accidents to all three stars have contributed to the uneven play, and the Nets are three video games behind Philadelphia for the highest seed within the Jap Convention.

Not solely is the perfect report within the convention getting out of attain, however Brooklyn (43-24) is locked in a battle with Milwaukee for the second seed, and the Bucks received the season sequence between them. Two of these losses to Milwaukee got here this previous week and are a part of a four-game skid for the Nets.

“Dropping sucks,” Durant stated. “I imply, it doesn’t matter what time of 12 months it is in, irrespective of who it is in opposition to. I imply, I have been feeling the identical method about dropping since I used to be 8 years outdated, since I began taking part in. So, it is at all times been about stand up the subsequent day and return to work.”

Brooklyn might be making an attempt to keep away from a fifth straight loss after they play the Nuggets in Denver on Saturday night time. The Nets will not have Harden, who has been out since April 5 with a hamstring pressure, however the former MVP is predicted to play earlier than the playoffs start later this month.

“Our mindset is, if we will come to this postseason wholesome, we’re proper there,” Harden stated not too long ago. “We’ve an opportunity.”

The Nuggets (44-23) are coming off a 127-120 loss at Utah on Friday night time with out a lot turnaround time for a recreation in opposition to one of many high groups within the league. Saturday is the final dwelling recreation of the common season for Denver, which can shut with 4 street video games.

The Nuggets will not be absolutely wholesome for the remainder of the 12 months however whilst gamers have gone down, they’ve stored successful. Since dropping Jamal Murray to a torn ACL on April 12, they’re 10-3 and have stayed within the combine for a top-three seed within the Western Convention playoffs.

Along with Murray, Denver is lacking Monte Morris (hamstring), Will Barton (hamstring) and P.J. Dozier (adductor pressure). Morris is closest to returning, adopted by Barton, however Dozier may miss the remainder of the season.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone stated the condensed schedule has contributed to accidents everywhere in the league.

“I feel you see all of it throughout the NBA, all through the 30 groups on this affiliation,” he stated. “So, I feel the NBA boxed themselves in a little bit bit with a tough start date and a tough finish date, with preserving the Olympics in thoughts. I feel accidents have actually ramped up considerably due to that. It’s what it’s. These should not your regular instances. We’re nonetheless in the midst of a pandemic … Simply generally, I do assume extra accidents have undoubtedly crept in due to the condensed schedule.”

–Subject Stage Media

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