Harden to join Durant at Tokyo Olympics but no Curry for Team USA

By Sports Desk June 21, 2021

James Harden has followed Brooklyn Nets team-mate Kevin Durant in committing to play for Team USA at the Tokyo Games, according to reports.

The United States team is taking shape as they prepare to defend their gold medal at the delayed 2021 Olympics.

Reports at the weekend detailed the expectation Durant would join the team after the Nets exited the NBA playoffs.

Durant was on the victorious USA teams in 2012 and 2016 and this year averaged 26.9 points per game in the regular season and 34.3 in the postseason – the 25th-best mark of all time.

The 2014 MVP will not be the only Brooklyn player on the Olympic team, according to The Athletic.

A hamstring injury limited Harden to 36 regular season games for the Nets following his trade from the Houston Rockets, before he played nine times in the playoffs, scoring an underwhelming 20.2 points per game.

Harden went to London in 2012 after his final season as a bench scorer for the Oklahoma City Thunder but not to Brazil four years later having established himself in Houston.

 

Golden State Warriors great Stephen Curry was involved on neither occasion – although he won the World Cup in 2010 and 2014 – and will not make his Olympic bow this year either, the report added.

Curry almost single-handedly carried the undermanned Warriors to the brink of the playoffs this year, taking the NBA scoring title with 32.0 points per game.

Donovan Mitchell, who struggled with an injury as the Utah Jazz lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, has also declined an invite, ESPN revealed.

Bam Adebayo, the Miami Heat center, will join the 12-man roster, though, aiming to bounce back from a playoff sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks in which he scored just nine points on four-of-15 shooting in Game 1.

Related items

  • Arteta accepts Arsenal goalscorer Martinelli 'deserves more' Arteta accepts Arsenal goalscorer Martinelli 'deserves more'

    Mikel Arteta concedes Gabriel Martinelli deserves more game time than he is getting at Arsenal and says the forward is pushing hard to play a greater role for the Gunners.

    Martinelli was on target as Arsenal defeated Newcastle United 2-0 at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, just 93 seconds after replacing Bukayo Saka – who had opened the scoring.

    The Brazilian has played only 367 minutes across nine appearances in all competitions this season, with just four of those as part of the starting line-up.

    His goal against the Magpies was his first of the campaign, while he has yet to register an assist from the five chances he has created.

    But Arsenal boss Arteta believes the goal can act as a springboard for a player whose attitude continues to impress the Spaniard.

    "It is a big moment for him and I'm especially happy for him because how he behaves," Arteta told Arsenal's official website of Martinelli.

    "Some players are respectful when you make some decisions, and some players are very respectful, like he is.

    "He's patient, but at the same time he's really pushing and challenging and it makes every decision that you make even harder because he deserves more and I'm really pleased because he really helped the team to get the points."

    Martinelli's goal was his first Premier League home strike since January 2020, with 679 days having passed between the efforts.

    He has had fewer than 15 minutes of top-flight action since August, but Martinelli accepts there is a need to be patient.

    "Yeah I need to be patient as I always say, if I play 10 or 20 minutes, I have to play well and be ready to play," Martinelli said.

    "I love the fans, I'm so happy to be here, playing for this club and I'm so happy for the victory.

    "We knew that the game was going to be hard, but we came prepared to the game and I'm so happy.

    "To be fair I don't remember [the goal]. I think Martin [Odegaard] played it wide to Tomi [Takehiro Tomiyasu] and I just thought I'd go to the box and try to head it, and I finished the ball. I'm just happy to score the goal."

  • Suns embracing franchise equalling win streak ahead of Warriors clash Suns embracing franchise equalling win streak ahead of Warriors clash

    Chris Paul is embracing the prospect of the Phoenix Suns matching their franchise record streak of 17 consecutive wins ahead of Tuesday's game against the Golden State Warriors.

    The Suns veteran, who reiterated that the ultimate goal is an elusive NBA title, had 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists as Phoenix beat the Brooklyn Nets 113-107 on Saturday.

    The win over the Nets moved the Suns' winning run to 16 games, within one victory of their franchise best, set in 2006-07.

    "It would be nice," Paul said during the post-game news conference. "Obviously everybody knows the ultimate goal is to win a championship but if you don't enjoy the small victories throughout the regular season then what the hell are you doing?

    "More than anything, we are having fun... We are going to keep taking it one game at a time and enjoy the moments because it's all about the journey."

    The Suns, who were beaten in last season's NBA Finals by the Milwaukee Bucks, have a 17-3 record this season, only bettered by Tuesday's opponents Golden State (17-2).

    "We know how good that team is over there," Paul added. "They have identity. They're led by Steph [Curry] and Draymond [Green] and now they've got Iggy [Andre Igoudala]. That's a tough team anytime you play against them."

    Devin Booker top scored for the Suns with 30 points against the Nets, including four three-pointers along with four assists.

    On the potential franchise-equalling game, he added: "I am looking forward to it. "Obviously [it is] not a make it or break it game. Not a playoff game. But we know it will be a high-energy game.

    "Two best records in the NBA. It is going to be a high intensity fun game."

  • Harden still 'trying to figure it all out' after frustrating Nets defeat Harden still 'trying to figure it all out' after frustrating Nets defeat

    James Harden admits he is still trying to figure out how to play his best basketball for the Brooklyn Nets after an ordinary display in the 113-107 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.

    Harden registered his fourth triple-double of the season, but he had seven turnovers and shot poorly, going none-for-six from three-point range for his 12 points under close guarding from Mikal Bridges.

    The 2018 MVP also shot four-for-16 from the field, finishing with 13 rebounds and 14 assists, as his up-and-down season continues.

    Harden is averaging 20.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game this season, with his offensive output the most alarming decline on his 25.0 career average.

    The 32-year-old averaged 24.6 points for the Nets following his January move from the Houston Rockets, with injuries impacting his continuity after the switch and into this season as well as developing cohesion with his new side.

    "Honestly I’m trying to figure all that out right now," Harden said at the post-game news conference. “I’m trying to figure it out.

    "Trying to figure out when to score, when to be a playmaker when to run offense, when to do a little bit of everything.

    "Just trying to figure it out it’s been a little difficult especially since you know, well whatever, but it’s been a little difficult but I’m just trying to figure it out."

    Nets head coach Steve Nash admitted it was a "tough night" for Harden, who was jeered by some fans at the Barclays Center upon his seventh turnover.

    "It was a tough night for him," Nash said during the news conference. "Some turnover issues. He didn’t get a lot of good looks.

    "That's part of our growth too, trying to figure out ways for him to be effective, even if he's not getting to the rim."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.