NBA rumors: James Harden discusses early-season struggles

Matt Brooks: James Harden: “As much as I want to get back to 30s and 40s points, I can’t do that. As much as I want to, as much as I would love to, I didn’t have any opportunities to play pickup. It was all rehab.”

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Harden says this is unfamiliar territory for him coming back from a significant injury and having to be patient with his offense. "My career, I've been blessed," Harden said. "Just not having surgeries or whatnot. So just this whole process last year was just like frustrating and draining. ... It was draining for me to know that I couldn't be myself and be out there on the floor and be the player that I am [at the end of last season]. "But I'm finally slowly getting back to it. It just takes a lot of hard work and dedication. But it's gonna happen. But you got to just continue to keep fighting, and I will."
"I had no opportunities to play pickup or nothing this summer," Harden said. "Everything was rehab for three months, from a Grade 2 injury that happened three times in one season. So this is my fifth game of trying to just play with competition against somebody else. And as much as I want to rush the process and be back to hooping and killing, [have to] take your time."
“If you’re just going through the motions, you’re just wasting your time,” he concluded. In fact, Harden told them that he had just gone through “a light day” because “I’m kinda still in rehab.”
Michael Scotto: James Harden on playing injured against the Bucks: “It’s basically a grade 2 hamstring strain, so the first possession of Game 1 up until Game 5, that was the first time I did any basketball competition against anybody. I was literally going out there on a limb.”
Malika Andrews: James Harden says that he has been playing through a Grade 2 hamstring strain. The team had been calling it hamstring tightness.
Of course, the Nets will have their excuses to lean on in the event they are eliminated by the Bucks. Irving’s ankle sprain was a dramatic game-changer in this series, and though Harden looked physically better in Game 6 than he did in Game 5, he still wasn’t half the force he was with two healthy legs. “It’s not even about rust,” Harden said. “It’s about being able to move. … I’m out there to do whatever it takes to win. I’ve got to be better on both sides of the ball, which I will be for Game 7.”
Ajayi Browne: Steve Nash also says, “James (Harden) is not at 100%. He’s got to protect himself — He’s not going to be able to push the ball in transition.”
Brian Lewis: James Harden out on the floor for pregame warmups. #Nets #bucks #nba pic.twitter.com/w4XJInv7MD

http://twitter.com/NYPost_Lewis/status/1404939765288480770

http://twitter.com/malika_andrews/status/1404940241094520834
Adrian Wojnarowski: Harden is expected to test his hamstring in shoot-around today and has been determined to try and find a way to get cleared to play Game 5, sources tell ESPN. There are no guarantees on his status but Harden is trying to play with series 2-2.
He noted James Harden has made "progress" in his recovery from a hamstring injury, but he could also miss the game Tuesday. These injuries are a concern for a Brooklyn team that is in championship-or-bust mode. When one or both of the guards is out, it puts pressure on Kevin Durant to carry the team.
Malika Andrews: James Harden remains out for Game 4 between the Nets and Bucks (Sunday on ABC), Steve Nash says. Harden is "progressing" Nash says. Jeff Green has been upgraded to questionable for Game 4, Nash says.
Marc Stein: The Nets’ James Harden and Jeff Green remain out for Thursday’s Game 3 against Milwaukee, Steve Nash says. Nash adds that he does expect Green to play in this series. Harden’s status still TBD.
Jordan Schultz: Sources: James Harden is currently undergoing an MRI on the right hamstring injury he suffered. I’m told the #Nets won’t risk long-term health issues with the superstar guard - a key component after the #Lakers drew criticism for playing AD in Game 6.
Malike Andrews: Steve Nash on James Harden: "I'm heartbroken for him." Nash adds he doesn't know whether or not Harden will be available for Game 2. "This guy was so ready and excited to play tonight... You never want to see that when someone gives everything they have."
Michael Scotto: Kevin Durant on James Harden: “Sh*t sucks. It sucks because I want him to be out there. I know how much he cares. I know how much he wants to be in this moment. I wish him a speedy recovery. We're going to keep him involved as much as possible. It's just a bad break." pic.twitter.com/IGsk2KZVse
Spencer Dinwiddie: F--k
Shams Charania: Nets star James Harden plans to play tonight vs. Spurs, assuming pregame warmups go smoothly, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium . Harden is on the cusp of his return after missing over one month with a hamstring strain.
After missing five weeks with a hamstring injury, Nets star James Harden's return is expected to be a game-time decision before Brooklyn faces San Antonio on Wednesday night, sources told 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.
But Nash reiterated that James Harden, still rehabbing his right hamstring strain, is nowhere near a return. “James probably is still a ways away,” Nash said. “But he’s working and getting better and improving and moving the right direction, and we’re all positive and optimistic about his long-term outlook. But I think we’ve still got plenty of time before we see him back on the floor.”
Harden, who missed a 13th straight game Friday, hasn’t played since limping off the court April 5 versus the Knicks. There are eight games left in the regular season, and Nash wouldn’t confirm that Harden will be back before the postseason. “I don’t know if I want to forecast an opinion here. I’m not sure that serves any of us. Let me avoid the question and say we’ll see,” Nash said. “I’m not 100 percent certain he will or he won’t. That’s true.
Brian Lewis: #Nets update on James Harden 👇🏾 pic.twitter.com/rjlwa8GyAP

http://twitter.com/NYPost_Lewis/status/1384630771630096393
Brian Lewis: Steve Nash expects James Harden to be back before Tyler Johnson. And he doesn't think Johnson will takes 2 or 3 weeks, but should return before that. #Nets
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November 28, 2021 | 12:08 am EST Update
But when the Timberwolves needed a defensive stop down one in their 121-120 double overtime victory over Philadelphia, the Wolves weren’t taking Russell off the floor. He delivered with a steal that led to the winning bucket from Taurean Prince with 4.8 seconds remaining in the second overtime. “Criticism, I try to stay away from it,” Russell said. “My boys criticize me more than media.” His boys were singing his praises after Saturday. “That’s probably one of the best D’Angelo Russell performances I’ve ever seen,” Towns said. “I’ve seen him get 50 against us, but the difference between this game and that game … is the defense he played as well as the offense he gave us.”