Nets' James Harden ruled out with right hand strain vs. Warriors

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James Harden dribbles vs Bucks, navy jersey
James Harden dribbles vs Bucks, navy jersey

After missing Wednesday’s game against the Denver Nuggets with a hamstring injury, James Harden was expected play Saturday when the Nets take on the Golden State Warriors, but was instead a late scratch due to a right hand strain.

Head coach Steve Nash said prior to the game that Harden was a "game-time decision" after getting his hand checked out by team doctors.

"James' hand has been bothering him for a few days at least, but he thought it was nothing and then it really flared up this morning when he woke up," Nash said. "Obviously irritated with what he was feeling yesterday, and then this morning he woke up with some irritation. He had a scan and there's I think what we're calling is a hand strain."

Nash told reporters Friday that the 31-year-old went through practice and was going to be able go against Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the 36-13 Warriors.

Harden's absence comes at a crucial time for the Nets.

Brooklyn has lost three in a row and has played poorly since the knee injury Kevin Durant suffered on Jan. 15 -- going 2-6 in that span. Saturday’s game against Golden State will be the first of a five-game West Coast road trip that could see the 29-19 Nets fall down the Eastern Conference standings.

Currently, the Nets are fourth in the East but only 2.5 games separate them from the seventh seed and the play-in game.

And while Durant won’t be with the Nets on this road trip, Harden will be joined by Kyrie Irving for the next five games. With Durant expected to miss at least six weeks due to his knee injury, the Nets can use all the firepower they can muster when facing off against some of the best teams in the Western Conference.

After Golden State, the Nets will face the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, and Denver Nuggets.

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