When the Brooklyn Nets face the Utah Jazz tonight, they won’t have any of their Big Three or their newest addition.
The Nets have announced star guard James Harden is out due to neck soreness and forward Blake Griffin — who made his Brooklyn debut on Monday — will also miss the game. Griffin and Harden both played in Tuesday’s 116-112 win against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Griffin will miss the game due to injury-management reasons for his left knee and so he doesn’t play the second night of back-to-back games. He came off the bench vs. Portland, finishing with eight points, five rebounds and two steals. Harden finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and 17 assists.
Harden said after the win against the Blazers that he nearly sat out that game because of a sore neck. But Harden, who has played more games than anyone in the NBA since entering the league in 2009 with 871, takes great pride in being available for his team.
”That’s just who I am, that’s just how I’m built,” Harden said. ”If this thing was done tomorrow, I know I gave everything I had. I know I didn’t shortcut at any point. It will be over one day but me in the back of my mind knowing, I have peace knowing I did that. I can live with that.”
This season, Harden leads the Nets in scoring (25.4 ppg) and assists (11.5) while shooting 46.8% overall and 36.2% on 3-pointers. Brooklyn is already shorthanded as Kyrie Irving (who is missing the Nets’ three-game road trip due to a personal matter) and Kevin Durant (recovering from a hamstring injury) are both out of the lineup.
The Jazz have the NBA’s best record at 31-11, but the Nets have been right on their tail — especially since Harden joined the Brooklyn’s roster. Since Jan. 16 (when Harden made his Brooklyn debut), the Nets are 23-8 — a mark bested only by the Jazz’s 23-7 record.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.