Harden on rough return: Tried to do my best

2:15 AM ET

Malika Andrews

CloseESPN Staff WriterStaff Writer Joined ESPN in 2018 Appears regularly on ESPN Chicago 1000

Tim Bontemps

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — On Monday evening, the Brooklyn Nets announced that Kyrie Irving and James Harden would both be sitting out Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Tuesday morning, Harden had other ideas.

“[I] woke up and was like, ‘You know what? Let’s go,'” Harden said after finishing with five points in 46 minutes in Brooklyn’s 114-108 victory over Milwaukee on Tuesday night as the Nets took a 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven series. “I tried to go out there and do the best I can. Hopefully I gave my teammates some encouragement, some life.”

While Harden’s teammates no doubt got a boost from him being on the court, it was hard to argue he was anywhere near his normal self in his first game action since aggravating the right hamstring injury that also kept him out for several weeks at the end of the regular season.

The decision to allow Harden to play was made after he tested his hamstring on the court before tipoff. It was the first time Harden was available to play in a game since June 5,

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