Steve Nash is nothing if not a glass-half-full guy. On Friday afternoon, he delivered the news that Kyrie Irving has been ruled out of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bucks Saturday night at Barclays Center because of the sprained right ankle he suffered in Game 4.
But the Nets’ coach celebrated the fact his team still is alive while coping with a litany of injuries suffered this season. Nash said James Harden "came through fine" after playing his second straight game with a tight right hamstring, and Jeff Green also is good to go after playing his third game coming off a left plantar fascia sprain.
"We’ve gone through so much this year," Nash said. "This is not the way we envisioned our playoff run — losing Ky, having James be in the position he’s in, Jeff Green be in the position he’s in. We just look at this as a great opportunity.
"We’re still here. We’re still alive given everything that’s happened to us. We feel more a sense that we’ve done an incredible job to get here and to give ourselves a chance at home to win a Game 7."
The home team has won every game in this series, and the Nets are 6-0 in the playoffs at Barclays Center.
The Bucks had a huge 26-4 advantage in fast-break points in Game 6. Nash admitted it’s tough to push the ball in transition because Harden isn’t running well, but he said they can compensate.
"We certainly are confident," Nash said. "This is exciting for our guys. They get a chance to play a Game 7 at home. It’s why we scrapped together all year under adversity to try to get that highest seed as possible. The reward is that we get to be at home [Saturday] night. It’s an incredibly exciting day for all of us and a great opportunity."
If the Nets win to reach the Eastern Conference finals, it gives Irving a chance to return. "If we’re able to advance, he’ll be back at some point," Nash said. "I don’t know if that’s in a few days, a week or beyond, but I think it’s not a season-threatening situation."