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James Harden back to pre-injury form is bad news for rest of NBA

Dec 29, 2021 0 comments
After 15 days away from the Nets in COVID-19 protocols, James Harden is back and better than ever. On Christmas Day, Harden lit up the Lakers with a 36 point, 10 rebound and 10 assist triple-double outing including a picturesque lob to Nic Claxton to give the Nets a late lead they never relinquished. Two days later, Harden dismantled the Clippers with a season-high in both points (39) and assists (15) to go along with eight rebounds to propel Brooklyn to a 16-point victory. A well-rested Harden, who came off an asymptomatic positive virus test, used the time off to get into tip top shape and shed the extra weight that was limiting his explosiveness to the basket. After using the entire off-season to rehab his Grade 2 hamstring strain suffered in the 2021 NBA playoffs, Harden barely played and trained prior to 2021 training camp opening. Harden struggled to catch a rhythm and the league's leader in free throw line trips was not getting to the charity stripe with regularity. Basketball fans and pundits speculated that the diminished version of Harden was a result of age and NBA rule changes that aimed not to reward offensive players using crafty techniques to create contract and draw fouls. Through 30 games, Harden was sluggish, carrying extra weight and still developing chemistry with teammates while working back to peak conditioning and shooting form. Prior to the COVID-19 positive test, Harden was showing signs of turning the corner, and the time off did wonders for him. With Harden ascending back to an MVP level, the rest of the NBA will be put on notice. Kevin Durant is expected back with the team on Thursday against Philadelphia and Kyrie Irving is one to two weeks away from returning, according to head coach Steve Nash. Things are heating up in Brooklyn as the Nets big-three will be whole again before the All-Star break and ready to wreak havoc on the league.


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