NBA

Nets' Harden cleared to face Trail Blazers

By Sports Desk March 23, 2021

Brooklyn Nets star James Harden has been cleared to face the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA.

Harden was listed as questionable for Tuesday's matchup against the Trail Blazers in Portland due to neck soreness.

Former MVP Harden appeared to hurt his neck during a collision with Garrison Mathews in Sunday's 113-106 win over the Washington Wizards.

But Harden will take to the court away to the Trail Blazers, while fellow stars Kyrie Irving (personal matter) and Kevin Durant (hamstring) are sidelined.

Harden was on the court for 39 minutes against the Wizards, the most for any Nets player. Prior to Sunday's victory, the former Houston Rockets star had featured for 40-plus minutes in four of the franchise's previous eights outings either side of the All-Star break. 

This season, Harden is averaging the most minutes in the NBA with 37.9, with Julius Randle of the New York Knicks next on 37.

Harden is averaging 25.3 points, a league-best 11.1 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game for the star-studded Nets this season.

He tops the list for most assists in the league in 2020-21 (410), while he ranks fifth for points/assists/rebounds averaged per game (44.4).

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    Having needed to rely on an impressive defensive showing against the Chicago Bulls, it was the turn of the offense to turn it on in a 133-127 triumph against the Kings.

    Middleton had 34 points, while Jrue Holiday put up 26 as the Bucks chalked up another tick in the win column despite Antetokounmpo missing out with soreness in his right knee.

    "We just need to be able to win different type of ballgames," Middleton said after the defending champions moved to 29-19 on the season. 

    ''Every game is not going to be perfect, every game is not going to be pretty. To get defensive stops, to get 50-50 balls like we did [against the Bulls], it helps. 

    "When you hit shots like we did tonight, it also helps."

    Middleton made a key three-pointer with one minute and nine seconds remaining on the clock, with the Kings having fought back to within three points.

    Holiday felt Middleton's effort was key in helping the Bucks get over the line.

    "I feel like this is what he has been doing," Holiday said. ''He makes timely threes. He makes big shots, especially in that moment when they had momentum. He just came down and laced them, took advantage."

    Donte DiVincenzo (20 points), George Hill (17) and Pat Connaughton (15) all made valuable contributions for Milwaukee to earn praise from Middleton.

    "I think they were great," he added. 

    "Pat got hot for us. George did a great job at the point guard position, just controlling the team. Defensively he was all over the place, coming down for rebounds and helping box out. 

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    Yet two-time major winner Barty hit straight back, with a missed backhand from Anisimova gifting her a reprieve, and she did not look back, holding serve before breaking again to go 4-3 ahead.

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    DATA SLAM: BARTY'S HOLD STREAK OVER

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    Anisimova – 20/34

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Barty – 7/3
    Anisimova – 4/1

    BREAK POINTS WON

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    Anisimova – 1/5

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    "I'm tired of the underdog narrative," said. "We're a really, really good team. We're here to make noise."

    Burrow added that McPherson called nailing his game-winning kick.

    "He [McPherson] gave a little warm-up swing and he said, 'Ahh, looks like we're going to the AFC Championship,'" Burrow said.

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