First they lost James Harden, then Kyrie Irving, and finally the Brooklyn Nets lost their lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Though the series is tied, the Milwaukee Bucks are way ahead in the health category.
Down to Kevin Durant as their lone healthy superstar, the Nets limp home to host Game 5 on Tuesday, a team that once piled up points with ease suddenly struggling to cobble together much offense at all.
“This is what it’s all about in the playoffs, is you’re going to have ups and downs. You’re going to have momentum shifts, you’re going to have adversity and it’s about how you respond,” Nets coach Steve Nash said Monday. “So tomorrow is a great opportunity for us to show what we’re made of, respond in a positive way and put on our best performance of the series.”
The Nets were bitten by the injury bug all season, with long absences for Durant and Harden in the second half. Their three stars played together only eight times in the regular season and they may not have another chance until October.
Nash said Irving won’t play Tuesday because of the sprained right ankle he sustained in Game 4. Harden hasn’t played since the opening minute of Game 1 because of right hamstring tightness. When he returned from the same injury in April, he promptly strained it minutes into his return and missed the next 18 games, so the Nets are being cautious with him.