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James Harden held out of Nets' final regular-season game vs. Cavaliers  

James Harden of the Nets reacts after a

James Harden of the Nets reacts after a basket during the fourth quarter against the Bulls at Barclays Center on Saturday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

When coach Steve Nash met with the media before Sunday night’s game against the Cavaliers at Barclays Center, it was clear the Nets needed a win to clinch the No. 2 seed, and he admitted no final decision had been made on whether the Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden all would play.

"We definitely want to win the game," Nash said. "There’s also limits to the risks we’ll take."

Slightly more than an hour before tipoff, those limits became clear when Harden was ruled out for "right hamstring–injury management." The Nets decided it wasn’t worth it to play him in the second game of a back-to-back set. Joe Harris (sore hip) also missed his third straight game but is expected back for the first round of the playoffs.

After the Nets clinched the No. 2 seed with a 123-109 victory, Nash was asked if Harden and Harris can practice before the first round begins next weekend.

"I think James will be fine," Nash said. "I think Joe might need a few days. There’s a case where he may not practice the whole week, but that’s OK. He’s played a lot of minutes this year, and we want him to heal up as best he can and not have to chase this thing through the playoffs and have it linger. I’d rather he resolves it than practice this week, but if he’s able to practice, I’m sure he will."

Irving talks politics

Following Saturday’s win over the Bulls, Irving chose not to discuss basketball because of his political concerns about the conflict taking place between Israelis and Palestinians. Asked why Irving didn’t play in the fourth quarter in that game, Nash said, "He had played the most minutes (29:32). We were going to put him back in the game if we needed a couple minutes, but we didn’t need him."…Nash said Spencer Dinwiddie has remained in Los Angeles since December knee surgery. "I’m not sure what the plan is for him or what he personally wants to do."

New York Sports