Nets' Harden exits Game 1 early with hamstring injury

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Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden has been ruled out of Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks after he injured his right hamstring 43 seconds into the first quarter.

Harden reached for his right hamstring and limped off the court after driving to the basket on the Nets' first possession of the game. Brooklyn quickly called timeout, and Harden held the back of his right leg as he walked to the locker room. He was ruled out for the rest of the game, and a Nets spokesperson stated he left Barclays Center to have an MRI on the hamstring.

"I didn't realize what had happened until [Harden] started walking off the court," Kevin Durant said during the postgame media session. "It just sucks. I want him to be out there. I know how much he cares. I know how much he wants to be in this moment. I'm wishing him a speedy recovery, and we'll keep him involved as much as possible. It's just a bad break."

Brooklyn stars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Blake Griffin combined for 72 points and carried the Nets to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals with a 115-107 victory over the Bucks.

Harden missed two games in early April due to right hamstring tightness and played four minutes against the New York Knicks on April 5 before leaving the game with a right hamstring strain that kept him off the court until May 12.

The 2017-18 NBA MVP played in just two games before the Nets began the postseason against the Celtics. He appeared healthy and averaged 27.8 points, 10.6 assists and 7.2 rebounds to help Brooklyn win the series 4-1 against Boston.

Brooklyn has dealt with injuries all season, and Game 1 marked just the 14th time the combination of James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have played together. The Nets are also without forward Jeff Green, who has been out since May 25 with a left plantar fascia strain.

Harden, 31, was acquired by the Nets in a blockbuster four-team trade in January and averaged 24.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 10.8 assists for the regular season.