How far can the Brooklyn Nets go before needing James Harden to return from hamstring tightness that will sideline him for Monday's Game 2 of their Eastern Conference second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks?
With Harden sidelined during the opening stages of Saturday's contest, the Nets still comfortably handled the first game of their highly anticipated matchup with Milwaukee, a 115-107 victory that was more lopsided before the Bucks made a late run with reserves on the court.
Still, Brooklyn can't count on Milwaukee shooting so poorly from 3-point range and needing to extend the minutes for fellow All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with Harden unavailable. With that in mind, let's look at the Nets' chances in this series without Harden and how much rest he can give his hamstring.
Brooklyn without The Beard
In one sense, Game 1 win was proof of concept for the Nets' Big Three model.