James Harden Is About to Save the Year

When Kyrie Irving went down with an ankle injury Sunday, many believed that Kevin Durant would have to finish -- or get finished by -- the Bucks without both of his co-stars. Not so fast.

In the last 24 hours, James Harden has gone from Ruled Out for Game 5, to Doubtful, to Questionable, and now to Cleared. Oh, the emotions.

This same hamstring injury kept Harden out for five weeks during the season.

That's not the only plot twist. The Nets started Sunday as the clear favorites to win the title, then began Monday in the middle of a 2-2 series as underdogs to make it out of the second round.

I agreed with the shift. Brooklyn isn't beating the Bucks with just Kevin Durant. Should James Harden get back to near 90% though, the Nets become the team to beat in the NBA once again.

Durant is the Nets' best player. He may be the NBA's best player. That's fine. Harden is the Nets' most important player. There's a difference.

Brooklyn has stacked together talented players who rely on one-on-one basketball. Without Harden, there's no movement. There's no direction. That's the reason the Nets lost late in Game 3.

Wisconsin sports fans, it's still possible the Bucks win the championship and Aaron Rodgers returns to Green Bay. There's also a chance the Bucks are bounced by the Nets and Rodgers heads elsewhere. Just reminding you guys.

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Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics.. Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.