James Harden Says 'It’s Frustrating When' Nets Are 'Shorthanded So Many Guys'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 9, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) shoots a three point basket as Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets struggled in Wednesday's 114-104 loss to the Houston Rockets with Kevin Durant and others on the sideline.

"It’s frustrating when you’re shorthanded so many guys and you’re trying to make up for it in so many games, especially on a back-to-back and playing 42 minutes [Tuesday in Dallas]," Harden told reporters after the game. "It’s frustrating. But there’s nothing you can do. It’s out of your control. You’ve just got to keep pushing."

Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge were rested for the second game of a back-to-back while Joe Harris is out with an ankle injury. It left just two active players who average double-digit points per game: Harden and Patty Mills.

With Kyrie Irving also out indefinitely amid COVID-19 protocols, the Nets didn't have their expected offensive firepower.

Harden led all scorers with 25 points in the loss, although he shot just 4-of-16 from the field while turning it over eight times. The Nets finished with a 39.3 field-goal percentage as a team, including just 8-of-33 (24.2 percent) from three-point range. 

It resulted in a disappointing defeat for Harden in his first game back to Houston with a capacity crowd.

Brooklyn has a busy schedule in December, with 10 games in a span of 16 days from Dec. 3 to 19. The team had back-to-back games last Friday and Saturday before another back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday.

There isn't more than one day off between games until Dec. 27.

It was enough for head coach Steve Nash to sit Durant for just the second game all season, potentially costing the Nets a win.

Brooklyn is still first in the Eastern Conference with a 17-8 record, but every game could be important in the race for home-court advantage in the playoffs.